According to the vehicle provenance experts, criminals are using the illegally-obtained V5 documents to accompany stolen vehicles that have had their identities changed to match those of legitimate cars.
The fraudulent practice – known as cloning – is costing car buyers tens of thousands of pounds, says HPI.
Seven years ago, 130,000 blank registration forms were stolen from the DVLA – and they remain very much in circulation today and are catching out a number of used car buyers.
HPI warns buyers that the stolen certificates have a different background colour on the ‘Notification of Permanent Export’ tear-off slip, which looks mauve on the front and pink on the reverse. Legitimate documents should be mauve on both sides.
Managing director of HPI, Daniel Burgess, said: ‘Despite ongoing warnings of the threat of car cloning, buyers remain at risk.
‘Criminals continue to make millions by cloning cars using the blank registration forms stolen from the DVLA and selling these vehicles on to members of the public, who then lose both their new motor and their money when their vehicles are confiscated by the police.’
Burgess added: ‘It is essential that HPI, the police and the general public work together to squeeze out fraudsters.
‘As time has taught us, we can’t stop stolen V5s from circulating but we can stop the criminals from profiteering from them by simply using the tools that are at hand to check, check and double-check if documents are legitimate.’