From Bruce Schneier’s “Automobile Identity Theft“:
This scam was uncovered in Israel:
1. Thief rents a car.
2. An identical car, legitimately owned, is found and its “identity” stolen.
3. The stolen identity is applied to the rented car and is then offered for sale in a newspaper ad.
4. Innocent buyer purchases the car from the thief as a regular private party sale.
5. After a few days the thief steals the car back from the buyer and returns it to the rental shop.
What ended up happening is that the “new” owners claimed compensation for the theft and most of the damage was absorbed by the insurers.