New, red V5C registration documents are replacing old, blue ones in a bid to improve used car security and cut vehicle fraud.
The new form is to be introduced following the theft of an estimated 400,000 blue V5C documents in 2006. So far, around 2000 of these documents which make it simple for criminals to create new identities for stolen cars have been discovered.
While the new red V5C will give instant reassurance that a car is not registered using a stolen form, buyers still need to be careful because blue V5Cs are still valid and will continue in circulation.
The blue forms will be replaced with a red one only when a car is sold, details are changed, it is lost, stolen or destroyed.
Remember that any V5C document, blue or red, shows only the registered keeper of a vehicle. It is not a proof of ownership document and does not reveal the history of a car, so you need to make further checks.
Check that the vehicle identification number stamped on the car matches that on the V5C, and that other more obvious details such as the make, model and colour also concur.
The safest way to buy a used car is to carry out a history check through a provider such as HPI. This will reveal if a car has outstanding finance owed on it, is stolen, or has been registered as a write-off.
Click here for a larger view**Beat the blue form fraud**
If you are offered a car for sale with a blue form, make sure you check the serial number. Contact the police if it includes the following numbers because it is one of the stolen document:
• BG8229501 to BG9999030
• BI2305501 to BI2800000
Even if a blue V5C does not fall within the serial numbers above, it does not guarantee that it is genuine. Hold it up to the light to see if there is a DVLA watermark.