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August 31, 2010

Missouri Goes Online with National System Designed to Combat Vehicle Theft & Title Fraud

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri has joined 37 other states in the use of a federal database that helps verify the correct title history of motor vehicles.

On Monday, applications for motor vehicle titles in Missouri began to be cross checked with information stored in the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS).  The system provides additional assurance that ownership titles associated with the purchase of vehicles such as cars, trucks and motorcycles are accurate.

According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), Missouri joins 25 other states that fully participate, meaning that Missouri provides both data into the system and makes inquiries into it before issuing a title.  Twelve states provide data but don't make inquiries.  Eleven states, including Kansas, are still in development, and two jurisdictions (the State of Illinois and the District of Columbia) are not participating in any form.  The Missouri Department of Revenue spent many months programming its computers and recently finished testing compatibility with the system before going online.

"Having this electronic warehouse of information available will help reduce the chance that stolen vehicles will be improperly titled," said Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue.  "It should also give consumers confidence that the vehicle they are purchasing is correctly classified as a new, used, or salvage vehicle."

The need for the new system is spelled out in statistics provided by AAMVA.  About 1.3 million vehicles are stolen each year, but only 63 percent of them are recovered.  Auto theft costs consumers and insurance companies about $8 billion per year.  Many cars and trucks are also damaged in floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, and there are attempts to resell these vehicles with titles that do not correctly reflect the damaged status of the vehicles.

The information provided in a NMVTIS inquiry includes the vehicle identification number, the state in which the vehicle is currently titled, what type of title a vehicle has (original, salvage, junk, etc.), and an odometer history.  In addition, it includes information from insurance companies and junk and salvage yards that is required by law to be reported to the system.

Most customers at local motor vehicle license offices or the Missouri Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Bureau in Jefferson City shouldn't notice any difference when applying for titles.

"When a vehicle identification number is entered into Missouri's existing information system, it will now automatically work in tandem with the new federal database," Barragán-Scott said.  "The information provided by NMVITS will give us a much better picture of a vehicle's title history."

The creation of NMVTIS was mandated by federal legislation.  The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for the system and the Department of Justice has contracted with AAMVA to operate the NMVTIS system.

Implementation and computer programming costs for Missouri were partially offset by a grant from the Department of Justice.

More information about NMVTIS can be obtained at http://www.aamva.org/KnowledgeCenter/Vehicle/NMVTIS/


The Missouri Department of Revenue is now on Twitter!  If you have a Twitter account, you can follow the Department of Revenue by going to http://twitter.com/MoRevenue.