How to Spot a Fake Motorcycle Title

Before you buy a motorcycle, verify that the title is original. Meanwhile, this article discloses the simple steps regarding how to spot a fake motorcycle title.

how to spot a fake motorcycle title

Identifying a replica motorcycle title is easy, and you must not be a pro to tell a fake title. Typically, a thief uses a phony title or pink slip to sell a stolen motorcycle. However, a stolen motorcycle can’t be registered with a fake title.


Inspecting a motorcycle is one step to avoid buying a stolen motorcycle, and you must not overlook it. Whether you’re buying a motorcycle from a private seller or a dealer, take the time to inspect whether the title is legit.

How to Tell a Fake Motorcycle Title

Below are the ways regarding how to spot a fake motorcycle title:

  1. Questionable Watermark

Title brands, including salvage, rebuilt, owner-retained, parts-only, etc., appear as watermarks on a bike title certificate or pink slip. It varies by state, though, but take note of this aspect. So, a fake title for a motorcycle will have a questionable watermark.

  1. Unclear Title Print

Typically, when a title certificate is unclear, the motor vehicle department recommends requesting a duplicate title.

If the title print seller gives you is unclear, ask them to request a replacement title. Besides, during registration, the officials may question your title for legitimacy.

If the seller refuses to get a replacement title, since the issued title print is unclear, it signifies a fake title. The seller could also be attempting to get rid of their motorcycle without a title by issuing a fake title.

  1. The Title and State are Different

If a motorcycle is from a different state than the seller’s information, the title may be fake.

Most of the time, such a title could have been washed in another state to conceal the motorcycle’s actual condition. It often happens when the original title reports the motorcycle as salvaged or totaled.

  1. Title Issued Recently

If the title issued date is recent, it signifies that the title may have been created for the sale of the bike recently. And if the title was bought in the home state, the title could have been forged.

Ask the seller why they requested a new title. The response you expect is that the older title went missing or had an unclear print. If the response deviates from either of these or is flimsy, it might be a forged motorcycle title.

  1. Check Seller’s Signature

While holding the title certificate or pink slip, ask the seller to write their signature on a booklet or piece of paper. Check how they write the signature and compare both signatures (on the title and the booklet). If it mismatches, you just spotted a fake motorcycle title.

  1. Mismatching Sellers and Driver’s License Info

Does the name on the pink slip mismatch with the seller’s driver’s license? If “yes”, the title may be fake. Since the seller owns the motorcycle, their driver’s license and title slip names must match. The only excuse the seller can make is that the title was not signed over. If the previous owner is deceased, the seller should request a duplicate title using the deceased’s death certificate.

  1. Request Odometer Disclosure Statement

The seller may not know the exact mileage on the title, but ask them to detect whether they mention a correct disclosure statement. It is likely that after creating the fake title certificate, a random odometer disclosure was entered, though it may match the motorcycle’s current mileage.

  1. Inspect the VIN

Look up the motorcycle VIN and compare the information. If the information mismatches, the motorbike title is fake.

To run motorcycle VIN check, consider sites like,, and You may have to pay for the complete motor vehicle history. Moreover, it is recommended to run and compare the motorcycle history report from at least 3 websites.

  1. Contact the Motor Vehicle Department

If you purchase a motorcycle out of state, endeavor to register the motorcycle immediately. If the registration center reports issues with the title, you may present the bill of sale as evidence that you purchased the motorcycle in good faith.

Final Thoughts

If you have no idea what an original title looks like, get a friend’s title certificate to use for comparison.

Apart from a title or pink slip forgery, a washed motorcycle title is also a fake title because it conceals the condition of the motorcycle.

When you spot a fake motorcycle title, withdraw from the deal to avoid buying a stolen motorcycle.

Get a mechanic or knowledgeable friend when to inspect a motorcycle you buy off eBay, Craigslist Motorcycles, etc.

Finally, do not make payments before inspecting the title, but a seller may not allow you to test ride their motorcycle without payment.

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