The Riverview Auto Tag and Title (RATT) mascot wearing a RATT T-shirt.

It’s tax refund season, and with extra money in their pockets, people are out buying new and used vehicles. The staff at Riverview Auto Tag & Title (RATT) has some tips to keep area residents from becoming victims of automobile title fraud.

Florida ranked third-worst in the nation for automobile-related fraud in 2020, according to a study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). RATT owner Jordan Wasdon said her staff has seen a noticeable increase in title fraud over the past few years.

Title fraud occurs when a person alters a vehicle title to misrepresent the true condition of a vehicle or provides false information to obtain a vehicle title, including forgery.

Wasdon said she has seen it all, from bleached-out titles to altered vehicle identification numbers (VIN).

“We want to make people aware that this is going on and let people know what look for,” she said, adding, “or they can just call us or bring it in and we can check if it is a valid title.”

Wasdon said consumers can look for misspellings or blurred numbers on the document or areas where it has been erased or bleached.

She advised that consumers should make sure the VIN on the title matches the VIN on the vehicle, as well as make sure the seller’s information matches.

“Get photos of IDs,” she added.

Unfortunately, Wasdon explained, anyone can get a dealer’s license, and criminals are getting smarter.

“Stricter laws or requiring notarized titles would help,” she said.

Also beware of people in the DMV parking lot offering to help you or people working for tips, such as offering to wait in line for you.

“Riverview Auto Tag & Title has years of expertise in the industry, and we understand that navigating vehicle registration and title transfers can be a complex and time-consuming task,” Wasdon said. “That is why we are here to simplify the experience for you.”

If you suspect you have become a victim of title or registration fraud, report it to the DMV immediately by completing and submitting form HSMV 80122 and supporting documents available at

Riverview Auto Tag & Title is located at 7423 U.S. 301 S. by Silver Ring Cafe. Its hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, visit, call 813-374-4448 or become a fan on Facebook.

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