Drivers continue to be tricked into purchasing stolen cars despite maximum effort by the DVLA to put a halt to cloned cars. Criminals are using DVLA forms stolen back in 2006 (which will not be obsolete until 2012) to clone stolen vehicles against existing ones.
The process is a sort of vehicular identity theft. The number plate of a legitimate vehicle, along with other identifiers, is copied onto an identical stolen car and one of the DVLA forms is used to create a copy of the vehicle logbook. This turns the stolen vehicle into an indistinguishable clone of a legitimate vehicle.
The car thieves then sell the stolen vehicle on the open market with little fear of being caught out.
The DVLA attempted to address this problem by releasing new registration certificates, but the move far from eliminated the problem. The DVLA arranged to have new certificates issued only at the time of relicensing or declaration that the car is off road. So, potentially thousands of clones are out there mimicking legitimate vehicles until 2012 when all the DVLA documents will have reached expiration.
Reports suggest that if you want to reduce your chances of ending up with a clone car, it is best to stay away from Internet sales or sell by owner offers. You have a much better chance of not getting ripped off if you do your car buying through what you know to be a legitimate dealer. Even then, there is a possibility that the dealer may have been sold a clone as well.