COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It appears shady car dealers are still using an old trick to make a bigger profit — rolling back odometers, then selling those salvaged vehicles.

Better Call 4 told you about odometer-related schemes earlier this year, but it continues to be a problem for central Ohio car buyers. So much so, that the Ohio Attorney General is taking legal action against the people behind it.

“These fraudsters go in and they manipulate the odometer on vehicles to make it appear that there’s less miles than there really are on a car, and that increases the value of the vehicle,” said Emilie Voss with CARFAX.

Better Call 4 spoke with Voss at the beginning of the year about the problem that, even then, was nothing new, but continues to persist and cost customers thousands of dollars.

“On average, we know that a vehicle with a rolled back odometer is worth $4,000 more than if it was at its original reading,” Voss said.

There are an estimated 1.9 million vehicles on the roads nationwide with a rolled-back odometer. In Ohio, it’s estimated that more than 40,000 vehicles currently on roadways have rolled back odometers.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and his office are working to put a stop to it.

“This is the fourth time that we’re prosecuting some cheater for doing this,” Yost said.

In September, the attorney general’s office announced legal action against a used-car dealership for odometer tampering for the fourth time in the Capital City this year. He now has a simple message for other sellers.

“You’re going to get caught. Don’t do it,” Yost said.

For the potential car buyer, CARFAX said to do your homework and take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic.

“That trained mechanic for that independent inspection is going to be able to see things, wear and tear on the vehicle,” Voss said. “That’s your best bet of seeing if the wear and tear on the vehicle doesn’t match the odometer reading.”

Some other advice from the attorney general’s office:

  • Check the vehicle history report. Specifically, the mileage history. The BMV has a free search on its website for the Ohio title history if you type in the VIN.
  • Look for cracked plastic over the cluster (where the odometer is).
  • If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.