Clues to spot a curbsider

Published On
March 8, 2022

March marks national Fraud Protection Month, so here are tips on how to identify and protect yourself from curbsiders when buying a car.

Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed dealers who pose as private sellers. Two signs that you are dealing with a curbsider include a rolled back odometer or previous write-offs with undisclosed accident repairs.

How to identify a rolled back odometer

Rolling back a vehicle’s odometer to display a lower mileage is known as odometer fraud and may be done to increase the sale price of a used car. Identifying a vehicle with a rolled-back odometer can be difficult, but there are steps you can take to spot one that has been tampered with:

  • Step 1: purchase a used vehicle information package (UVIP)
  • Step 2: ask for a vehicle history report (CARFAX)
  • Step 3: get a thorough car inspection by a professional

How to know if a vehicle is a rebuilt car wreck

To sell vehicles quickly, curbsiders may offer prices that appear too good to be true because the vehicle they are selling is a rebuilt car wreck. To protect yourself against a bad deal, do your research to compare advertised prices and review online resources to help determine the vehicle’s true value. Obtaining a history report of the vehicle is also another way of determining if the car was ever in an accident. Remember, no one sells a vehicle for less than it is worth.

It is important to note that curbsiders are not licensed by OMVIC. If a consumer chooses to purchase a car from a private seller, they are not protected by OMVIC, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund, or the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act.

How to call if you need help

OMVIC’s priority is consumer protection so report curbsiders at or 1-888-NO-CURBS (662-8727) and help create a safer car-buying journey for everyone.

Become an informed consumer by visiting to access free car-buying resources to get you started and sign up for their quarterly newsletter consumer line.

Buying a car can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. OMVIC’s team of experts can answer your questions. Contact OMVIC’s consumer support team at or 1-800-943-6002.