Steering clear of vehicle history report scams

A recent blog article from the FTC warns consumers about a new vehicle history report scam, and while dealerships are unlikely to be a target, it doesn’t hurt to be aware…
The FTC has been hearing about a new scam targeting people who are selling their cars online. They’re getting calls or texts from people who claim to be interested in buying the car – but first want to see a car history report. They ask the seller to get the report from a specific website, where the seller needs to enter some information and pay about $20 by credit card for the report. The seller then sends it to the supposed buyer but never hears back. Weird, huh?
Well, it gets weirder. When the car sellers go to one of these websites, they’re automatically redirected to sites ending in ‘.vin’ – which seems like it might be related to your car’s vehicle identification number or VIN, right? Scammers hope you’ll think that, but no. In this case, .vin is a relatively new website “domain” – like .com or .org – that groups can apply to use. This domain was intended to be used for sites that relate to wine, since “vin” is the French word for wine, but others are not prevented from using it. So yes, that’s a clever take on .vin for cars, yes, but you still might want to think twice if anyone asks you to do car-related business on a site ending in .vin.
So, if you are selling a car online and someone asks you to get a car history report from a specific site, ask why and think twice. You may have no way of knowing who operates the site, especially if it’s one you’ve never heard of. It might be a ruse to get your personal information, including your credit card account number. It also could be a way for companies called “lead generators” to get information, which they sell to third parties for advertising and marketing purposes.

Statewide proposals appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot

Coalition to Regulate Marihuana Like Alcohol: Proposed initiated law to authorize the personal possession and use of marihuana by individuals aged 21 years and older and control the commercial production and distribution of marihuana. Initiative petition filed on November 20, 2017. On April 26, 2018, the Board of State Canvassers determined that the petition contained a sufficient number of valid signatures.
Voters Not Politicians: Proposed constitutional amendment to create a commission of citizens for redistricting purposes and authorize the Commission to adopt reapportionment plans for Congressional, State Senate and State House of Representatives districts. Initiative petition filed on December 18, 2017. On June 20, 2018, the Board of State Canvassers determined that the petition contained a sufficient number of valid signatures.
Promote the Vote: Proposed constitutional amendment to regulate authorize no-reason absentee voting, require a straight party voting option on general election ballots, provide for automatic and Election Day voter registration, require post-election audits, and other voting changes. Initiative petition filed on July 9, 2018. On September 6, 2018, the Board of State Canvassers determined that the petition contained a sufficient number of valid signatures.
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NADA Chairman Wes Lutz Injects Dose of Reality Into Mobility Debate

NADA Chairman Wes Lutz  injected a dose of reality into the conversation about the future of mobility, directly challenging media narratives suggesting that ride-hailing will replace personal vehicle ownership, that self-driving vehicles will be immeasurably safer than human drivers, and that dealers are reluctant to sell electric vehicles.


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SOS upgrade in 2019: many licensing transactions will be available online

For the past few years the Secretary of State’s office has been working on an extensive system upgrade. The first phase of the Customer and Automotive Records System (CARS) project launches in February 2019. As part of this upgrade, many of the business and professional licensing transactions the Secretary of State’s Office conducts with auto dealers, repair facilities and mechanics will be available online for the first time.
MADA has provided the SOS with feedback on the process when requested. Currently, the state is still manipulating the program and testing final aspects of the upgraded system. They are unable to provide specific details at this time, but the desire is that most of the work will be in the background and dealers will see minimal changes. Mr. James Fackler with the department will be on-hand during the December 5th MADA Annual Meeting to provide further details about this update and what changes dealerships can expect.
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SOS & Treasury Training for Dealerships

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti

We have heard from a number of dealers that there is a need for additional State of Michigan training, especially due to new compliance and regulatory changes that have taken effect in recent years. To make the best use of your time, we have invited the Michigan Secretary of State and Michigan Treasury to provide a joint program in October – specifically to cover topics of importance to new car dealerships.

This will be a great program for new employees or long-time employees interested in a refresher course.

Full program details, times and registration information are available here. If you have additional questions please call MADA at (800) 292-1923 or email