U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Philadelphia seized five odometer manipulating devices in early April that were shipped from Russia and destined to addresses in Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, and Illinois.
CBP officers initially encountered the devices, called CAN Modules, in individual express international parcels during the last week in March. Internet research revealed that the devices connect to a vehicle’s instrument panel for the sole purpose of manipulating a vehicle’s mileage.
CBP officers contacted officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA advised CBP that the marketing for sale, sale, or use of an electronic device that slows or stops a motor vehicle’s odometer from registering actual mileage violates 49 U.S.C. § 32703. NHTSA recommended that CBP seize the devices.
Consumers should be aware that installing an unapproved device can render some vehicle features, including safety features, inoperable and may damage the vehicle’s computer. Unwitting consumers who purchase vehicles with underreported mileage may face unexpected vehicle repair costs and serious safety consequences.
NHTSA estimates that more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings. This crime costs American car buyers more than $1 billion annually.
“Customs and Border Protection officers are happy to partner with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to protect consumers and to help keep America’s roads safe,” said Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “Consumers deserve to have confidence that they are buying and driving a vehicle with accurately displayed mileage and that will keep them and their families safe.”