Bought a car and went to put my name on the title and turns out the previous owner got another title

I recently bought a car but the name on the title wasnt the same as the person who sold it to me. (Stupid me I know) But It had the sellers signature in the back ready to sell. So I took it to a title place to put my name in the title and it turns out that the previous owner got another title for the car (I looked up the car on Carfax before I bought it and it was all clean, and wasnt reported stolen, even after I found out the previous owner got another title for it.) So I go on a search for the guy, I went to the address that was on the title and no one was home. So I look him up on the internet and spend $40 to get his info, like last known address and phone number or anything else that could help me out. I didnt find his phone number but I found out where he lived but it was in an apartment complex and I knew they wouldnt give out his info so I called anyway to leave a message to have him call me and fix everything…and that was 2 or 3 weeks ago and nothing. I found his phone number at so I call and it said the number coundlt be completed as dialed…So now Im stuck with a car with no title and no possible way of getting a hold of this guy…Is there anyway I can still get a title for the car?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  • Charlie

If you live in California, you can go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and ask to speak with a DMV Investigator. These are law enforcement officers who work specifically with cases like title and license fraud. If you live in another state, you may find a similar office listed in your state directory on the internet. You’d likely have better results from speaking with an expert in the area as opposed to just any cop at your local district PD. Good luck.


If you don’t live in California, still go talk to someone at the DMV. They may have procedures for fixing the problem or investigating the fraud. If that doesn’t work, you need to talk to either the cops or hire a lawyer.

Some states let you ‘claim title’ to a vehicle ‘abandoned’ on your property for a certain amount of time.

You might be able to get a judge to award you the title in a civil lawsuit.

If you can’t get a title, the best you can do is part it out and park what’s left in front of a fire hydrant at a hospital…