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2/10/2014 - 200,000 vehicles affected by odometer fraud each year

For example, if a vehicle looks worn but its mileage is low, further inquiry may be in order.

As car shoppers may already know given the abundance of advertising, New Year's Day and the months to follow is one of the most popular times of the year for deep discounts on used and new vehicles, due to the fact that automotive suppliers are eager to sell their inventory in order to make room for more. But vehicle history report company Carfax is sounding the consumer alert alarm bells, urging motorists not to rush into a purchase too hastily, as odometer fraud is rampant.

It's estimated that 190,000 cars have their odometers tampered with annually, where unscrupulous dealers roll back the mileage on cars in order to make it appear as though they haven't been used as much as they have in actuality, according to Carfax. Some of the states where this type of deception has happened with the most frequency includes California, Nevada, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.

Larry Gamache, communications director for the Centerville, Va.-based vehicle history report firm, indicated that there are numerous problems that can result for the consumer if they fall victim to this type of deception, some of which include an auto insurance claim due to an accident.

"Older, deteriorating parts lead to unexpected repairs while unperformed maintenance for the true mileage may compromise the safety and performance of these cars," said Gamache. "Not to mention, each victim loses thousands of dollars because they pay much more than these cars are really worth."

Carfax offered a list of tips that prospective car buyers can use in order to guard against odometer fraud. For example, if a vehicle looks worn but its mileage is low, further inquiry may be in order.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 450,000 vehicles each year are sold with faulty odometer readings.

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