Title jumping, sometimes referred to as skipping title (although they are slightly different), is an illegal practice that involves selling a vehicle without transferring the vehicle’s title into the seller’s name. In essence, a person sells a vehicle that they never officially owned. Title jumping violates federal and state laws, and it’s often associated with Curbstoning and other forms of auto sales fraud.
How Do You Report Title Jumping
To report title jumping, you would typically follow these steps:
- Document everything: Keep a record of all transactions, conversations, and documents. This includes the bill of sale, the vehicle identification number (VIN), the person’s contact information, and any other relevant details.
- Contact local law enforcement: Report the situation to your local law enforcement agency. This could be your local police department or sheriff’s office. They may direct you to a specific department or officer who handles these kinds of cases.
- Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): You should also report the incident to your state’s DMV. They have the authority to investigate issues related to vehicle titles and can take appropriate action.
- Consult with a lawyer: If you’ve suffered financial loss due to title jumping, you may want to consult a lawyer. They can provide guidance on your rights and potential legal remedies.
Keep in mind that the specifics can vary depending on your location and the nature of the issue. It’s always a good idea to seek legal advice when dealing with potential fraud.
Is There A Way Around Title Jumping
Title jumping is illegal, and it’s not recommended to seek ways around it or else you could end up committing a crime yourself.
However, if you’ve unknowingly purchased a vehicle from a title jumper, you might find yourself in a difficult situation; however, there’s a potential solution, depending on the laws in your state: A bonded Title.
A bonded title
A bonded title, also known as a “surety title,” is a document that proves you own a vehicle when the original title is missing or when there are discrepancies with the title’s signatures or names. Not all states offer this option, but if yours does, here’s the general process:
- Purchase a Lost-Title Bond: A bond is a form of insurance that protects the state (and any previous owners) if someone else tries to claim ownership of the vehicle. You can purchase a bond from a surety company. The cost usually depends on the vehicle’s value.
- Apply for a Bonded Title: Once you have a bond, you can apply for a bonded title at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You’ll need to provide information about the vehicle, the bond, and possibly an explanation of how you acquired the vehicle. The DMV may also require a vehicle inspection.
- Wait for Approval: If your application is approved, the DMV will issue a bonded title in your name. This title is usually marked as “bonded”, indicating that there’s a bond associated with the vehicle.
- Clear the Bonded Title (if possible): After a certain period (usually 3-5 years), if no one else has claimed ownership of the vehicle, you might be able to apply for a clear title. The process varies by state.
Remember, the best way to avoid title jumping is to verify a vehicle’s title before you buy it in the first place. It’s an easy step, and there is no reason anyone should ever look it over.
Make sure the seller’s name matches the name on the title, and consider using a title-checking service to verify the title’s history. If you suspect title jumping, report it to your local law enforcement and your state’s DMV.