Real Stories: I Sold My Car and Lost My Identity

The Real Stories blog series features OneRep customers who have experienced privacy violations and shared how serious the consequences can be. This story focuses on how an identity can be defrauded as a result of a car sale and the struggle it takes to fix it.

Scams exist in almost every aspect of modern life, and identity theft involving wrongfully assigned traffic tickets is no exception. This type of fraud, officially called
criminal identity theft, is more common, and harmful, than people think. Victims who receive traffic tickets and are found guilty for moving violations they haven’t committed can suffer from a financial impact as well as from the effect it has on their background record. This includes fines, penalties, and fees for traffic offenses, license suspension, community service or even jail time.

That’s what happened to a OneRep member from Eugene, OR. After having sold his wife’s car, Richard K. became a victim of identity theft. He shares his story below.

Richard's Story

It appears I’ve had my identity stolen in a pretty peculiar manner. The thing is, I knew the thief. My story starts back when I was selling my wife’s old car (technically registered under my name). She loved it dearly, but it was obvious it wouldn’t last long. After a long discussion, we put the car on Craigslist for $1,000. 

“It appears I’ve had my identity stolen in a pretty peculiar manner. The thing is, I knew the thief.”

We got a buyer right away. He and I exchanged numbers – he was a dad covering the expenses for his son who would be the actual owner. They both seemed okay, nothing suspicious. We signed a bill of sale and I handed over the title. I went on the local DMV website and registered the sale, after that the new owner had to pay for the transfer. It turned out, he didn’t.

Not too long after the sale, I received a photo radar ticket for speeding. I went online to see the photos and immediately recognized the buyer of my wife’s old car. It seems the car was still registered in my name. I assumed that the transferring process must have taken longer than expected and did everything to get rid of a wrongfully issued ticket. I copied all the records, dates, attached the picture of a guy from the traffic cam photos, a bill of sale, and sent it all off to prove my innocence.

Three weeks later I got another ticket. The story repeated. My wife’s former car and the same driver. Things were quiet for another couple of months. Then, once again I received a ticket. This time for running a red light. I was furious. It wasn’t just a circumstance. I was certain the new owner of the car was doing it intentionally. 

For the third time I sent all of the documentation to the courthouse. This time I included a  long and detailed letter explaining what had happened. I also tried to get a hold of the buyer’s father, but with no luck. So I called the police and gave them all of the information I knew about the guy. They said they would look into it. Multiple driving tickets worth half the amount he paid for the car didn’t surprise them. To me it was more than that. The guy stole my identity and enjoyed impunity. 

I never imagined falling victim to identity theft in this way. But the police officer said the scam was pretty common. Someone buys an old car, never transfers the title, drives it until it finally breaks down, and goes unpunished. 

The policeman also suggested I monitor my personal and legal data more thoroughly, which I did. One of the steps I took was signing my wife and myself up for a data monitoring service called OneRep. Thanks to this tool we now monitor our background information and have a minimum online presence that keeps us safe from potential fraud.

Stop Identity Theft Now

If you are concerned about safeguarding yourself and your loved ones against identity-related crimes, try OneRep’s family plan. It covers up to 6 people. We monitor the web and automatically remove your family’s unauthorized profiles from 191 people-search sites. Don’t let exposed personal information affect your everyday life.

Maria Shishkova

Digital Marketer & Privacy Expert at OneRep | LinkedIn