How to anonymously report concerns about vehicle fraud

Published On
March 25, 2024

OMVIC’s new partnership with Toronto Crime Stoppers is helping clamp down on the growing problem of stolen vehicles

Graham Michaels  •  Postmedia Content Works

March is fraud prevention awareness month and, unfortunately, vehicle fraud remains a growing problem for drivers. In Ontario, it continues to make headlines.

Thanks to a partnership with Toronto Crime Stoppers that began in August 2023, consumers can now anonymously pass information regarding vehicle fraud to OMVIC, Ontario’s motor vehicle sales regulator. “Like the police, we can’t do our work without the assistance of the general public,” explains Sam Cosentino, OMVIC’s director of enforcement. “Their information often results in an excellent investigation and a successful prosecution. The partnership with Crime Stoppers allows people safely, and without fear of the consequences, to report incidents to police and, in our case, to report incidents of interest to OMVIC such as curbsiders.”

‘Curbsiding’ refers to the sale of vehicles by unlicensed dealers from driveways, repair shops, scrapyards and other premises. The approximately half of stolen vehicles being exported has been well publicized, but it’s perhaps less well reported that the other half remain in the local economy, often given a new identity or ‘VIN’ number in a process known as re-VINning. Such vehicles traditionally re-enter the market through curbsiders but the fraud has become so sophisticated that a growing number are being bought by unsuspecting franchised dealers for resale to consumers.

Recently, stakeholders including the federal and provincial governments, auto makers, police services, the CBSA and OMVIC, got together at the National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft to plan the long-term response to the problem. Cosentino was in attendance and afterwards, he told us how vehicle buyers can avoid stolen vehicles in the short term and report any suspicious behaviour.

“Sometimes people have information about a neighbour who is curbsiding, for example, but they’re afraid to come forward because they don’t want to have to identify themselves and then potentially be called as a witness,” he says. “With Crime Stoppers, you’re completely anonymous, and you can provide information safely to us or to law enforcement and it will be followed up.”

The process is simple. The recently updated OMVIC website has a menu option to File a Complaint. One of the options is to Submit an anonymous tip about a suspected curbsider via Crime Stoppers. This link takes you to the Crime Stoppers portal, where you can detail your concerns. Be sure to choose ‘OMVIC Intake’ from the Offense Type dropdown list. Alternatively, you can dial 416-222-TIPS or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

“After submitting the information, the individual receives a control number,” Cosentino adds. “This allows them to communicate on a portal with the Crime Stoppers team in case there are any follow up questions or if they want to provide further information. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to caller ID and if you email, there is no metadata that traces back to you or your devices. It’s perfectly safe.”

Through the portal, people can even submit information about other issues of interest to OMVIC, such as improper conduct at licensed dealerships. A concerned employee who doesn’t want to be identified as a whistleblower, for example, could submit information in complete confidence.

Before we finish our conversation, Cosentino reminds us why buying a fraudulent vehicle from a curbsider poses such a risk to consumers. “Curbers are usually deceptive in terms of disclosing prior repairs and the history of the vehicle,” he explains. “Potentially, you could be buying a re-VIN from a curber and whenever you buy privately you have no protections under Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Dealer Act (MVDA). But if you buy a stolen re-VIN from a licensed dealership and the police end up seizing it, then you have some recourse, including the ability to apply to OMVIC’s Compensation Fund.”

OMVIC has been delegated responsibility for administering and enforcing the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA). Visit to learn about your consumer rights when you purchase from an OMVIC-registered dealer and sign up for OMVIC’s monthly newsletter.

Contact OMVIC’s consumer support team at [email protected] or 1-800-943-6002 for advice and answers to all your car-buying questions.

OMVIC also offers free education services and webinars for consumers upon request. To learn more about your rights as a consumer, contact [email protected] for more information on our services and materials.

Our new OMVIC website launched on November 21, 2023. It’s been designed to empower car-buyers like you. Whether you’re in the market for a new car, seeking expert advice, or simply exploring your rights as a buyer, our website is your gateway to a wealth of information. With a mobile-responsive design, intuitive navigation and engaging content, we’re committed to making your experience seamless and informative. Dive into our fresh platform and take control of your consumer journey.

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This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of OMVIC.