CENTREVILLE, VA --- Digital odometer fraud is growing at an alarming rate, according to new research results from Carfax. 

The research shows that the number of cars with rolled-back odometers has increased 57 percent nationwide over the past four years.

"Odometer fraud is alive and well," said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. "Con men continually find ways to cheat the system, especially in a soft economy like this, and digital odometers are no exception. We cannot stress enough that consumers need to utilize every resource available to help protect them, starting with a Carfax Vehicle History Report. Simply asking the seller for a Carfax Report and questions about the car helps separate the good guys from the bad guys."

According to NHTSA, more than 450,000 cases of odometer rollbacks are reported annually, costing consumers more than $1 billion. These figures likely have increased based on the data from Carfax. In addition, experts believe digital odometers are easier to manipulate than their analog counterparts, and evidence of tampering is harder to detect.

Carfax offers these tips to avoid buying a rolled-back car:

-- Demand a Carfax Vehicle History Report from the seller.

-- Examine the wear on the pedals, steering wheel, floor mats, etc. to make sure they are consistent with the mileage reading.

-- Have a trusted mechanic check the car's computer and inspect the vehicle thoroughly prior to purchase.

To check for potential odometer roll-backs free of charge, visit www.carfax.com/odo.