LOCAL NEWS

Odometer fraud is making a comeback and could cost car buyers thousands of dollars

Dec 7, 2023, 10:22 PM | Updated: Dec 8, 2023, 7:22 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Rolling an odometer used to require cracking open a car’s dashboard and spinning the numbers backward. But now, con artists can do it with a simple push of a button.

Wendie Muhic’s story was the subject of a Get Gephardt investigation this past May. She bought an SUV that was having the sorts of issues you would expect to see on a car with a lot more miles. That’s because it has, according to a vehicle history report she pulled.

“The car actually has 180,000 miles on it and when I bought it, it had 98,000 miles on it,” she said.

Our investigation uncovered that the car’s odometer had been rolled while in Florida, and then bought and resold a few times after that. It was information that instantly cost Muhic thousands in lost car value.

“I was sick to my stomach.”

Now, new data shared with the KSL Investigators shows just how prevalent odometer fraud is. Carfax found that roughly 2.1 million vehicles on the road have tampered odometers. About 19,000 of those cars reside in Utah.

You may think that odometer fraud would go down with the arrival of digital odometers, but the data shows the opposite is true. In fact, odometer fraud is up 14% since 2021.

Josh Ingle, owner of Atlanta Speedometer, says digital odometer tampering tools used to be expensive and hard to find, but not anymore.

We found such tools selling for around $150 online.

Once connected to the car’s OBD2 diagnostic port and a couple of button pushes, those tools can tweak the odometer and make the car instantly seem more valuable.

“That’s a huge incentive for scammers,” said Carfax’s editor-in-chief, Patrick Olsen.

He said on average, someone who buys a car with a rolled-back odometer loses about $4,000. To protect yourself, he touted the value of vehicle history reports. But perhaps the very best thing a car buyer can do is to have a mechanic check out the car before you buy.

“They’re going to see if shocks and struts have a lot more wear and tear to them than they ought to have for the mileage that’s on the odometer,” Olsen said.

Odometer fraud is a crime. In rare cases, the state of Utah can step in and unwind deals after the crime is discovered. But the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division said you are far better off doing your due diligence before you buy rather than trying to sort it out after the fact.

Local News

...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Southern Utah woman charged with aggravated murder; prosecutors won’t seek death penalty

A 28-year-old woman accused of brutally killing her parents in their home is now facing 11 felony charges, including 10 first-degree felonies.

27 minutes ago

utah county sheriff...

Michael Houck

Mudslide impacts traffic on Diamond Fork Canyon, sheriff’s office says

A mudslide is affecting traffic on Diamond Fork Road, making it difficult for travelers to get out of the canyon Friday afternoon.

1 hour ago

1 of 6Medina Reyes, Jorge Rafael SO#426266 Mug2021.jpg Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes, 21, believed to b...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Second man pleads guilty to kidnapping, murder of Kearns woman in 2021

A second man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering Nicole Solario-Romero, a woman whose abduction near her Kearns home in 2021 was caught on a doorbell camera.

2 hours ago

The La Sal Mountains are pictured at sunset as seen from Moab on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Spenser H...

Daniel Woodruff

Grand County official gave employee ‘safe word’ to use in uncomfortable conversations, complaint alleges

The Grand County human resources director has resigned her position amid allegations that she retaliated against an employee who complained about harassment.

2 hours ago

Rowers from Utah Crew travelled to Sarasota, Florida, to compete in the USRowing Youth National Cha...

Alexander Campbell

Facing adversity, a local youth rowing team places top ten nationally

In a small canal near California Avenue in Salt Lake City, a team of high school rowers has trained for racing at the national level.

3 hours ago

Follow @jellis9Like us on Facebook...

Josh Ellis

Severe thunderstorm warnings issued for parts of Utah

Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for parts of the Wasatch Front and southern Utah as large portions of the state remain under a severe thunderstorm watch for Friday.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Odometer fraud is making a comeback and could cost car buyers thousands of dollars