Find Who Owns a Car

Name Phone Number License Plate VIN
Name Phone Number License Plate VIN

How to Find Who Owns a Car

To find out who owns a car there are a couple of options depending on the reasons why you want to obtain this information. The Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) only allows certain legitimate inquiries to access car owner information. Once you read through the DPPA and you have determined your search is allowed, you can proceed with your search. It is also important to note that running a car owner search has additional limitations and restrictions that are determined by each state. You may also be required to submit your contact information or business entity information before obtaining any car owner information. The basic steps to find who owns a car are as follows:

  1. Verify you have a legitimate reason for running a car owner search
  2. Enter the full license plate number into the search field, and select a state
  3. Once your search is complete, verify the make and model of the vehicle match
  4. Verify car owner details, depending on your reason for this search, and what is allowed in your state
  5. Use the information obtained only as directed and as required by state regulations

How to Find Who Owns a Car

Find Car Owner By License Plate

To find out who owns a car by license plate number you will need the complete license plate number and state of registration to begin this search. Again, depending on your reason for finding out who owns a car by license plate number you must have a legitimate reason according to the DPPA, as well as state specific privacy laws. Then once you’ve determined this is a legitimate reason you can proceed with your car owner search. It is also important to note that on some car license plate numbers there are special characters and symbols that must be documented to run an accurate search. Some sites will give you the option of a “wildcard” that you can type in if there is not a special character option to search with. Car owner information may be limited depending on what is allowed by the relevant privacy laws. Business requesting car owner details will need to submit their entity information and the reason for accessing these vehicle records.

How to Find Who Owns a Car By VIN

To find out who owns a car by VIN , or vehicle identification number, you will need the complete VIN. The vehicle identification number is a 17 digit alpha-numeric code that describes all the specific vehicle information and each VIN is unique to one specific car, just like the license plate number. You can go through the same channels as the license plate search as long as you have a legitimate reason to perform this car owner search. It’s also important to note that not all sites that offer vehicle records have access to car owner information. So if you are searching by VIN it’s good to be certain of this. The same rules apply to access owner information with a VIN search as they do with a license plate search.

Car Owner Search

Reasons for Finding out Who Owns a Car

There are a multitude of reasons that someone would like to know who owns a car. It might be that they’re in the market for a used car or maybe checking on the title of their own car or possibly another reason that is allowed via the DPPA. The Driver Privacy Protection Act is very serious and only those that meet the criteria and have a legitimate reason can perform this car owner search. Each state in the United States has their own DPPA that must be adhered to. To find out more about DPPA reasons and regulations in order to answer the question, “ How to Find Who Owns a Car ,” can be found here on Wikipedia. Also note that not all states allow the same reasons to find out who owns a car and some information about the car owner may be limited. Also note that you will be personally liable for information obtained in a car owner search and it’s illegal to stalk or harass anyone with any information you obtain. Please be responsible with the information you find. The FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act makes vehicle records public domain so that people can access this information as long as their in compliance with state, local and federal regulations.

What You Can Find With a Car Plate Search

  1. Make and Model of the Car
  2. Car Owner Information
  3. VIN – 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number
  4. Car Specifications and Manufacturing Details
  5. Car History Report
  6. Accident History
  7. Car Title Status
  8. Crash Test Ratings and Recalls

Many people run a car plate search for reasons of purchasing a used car and verification of the vehicle and vehicle ownership which is a key part of the transaction. It can be very helpful to know if the car title is clean or salvaged or has a lien on it, if there are any major safety concerns. There are a multitude of reasons people want to know more about vehicles and with our search tool you can run multiple searches on the cars you want to know more about.

Researching Cars For Sale By Owner

There are some simple ways to verify and research cars for sale by owner. A license plate search or VIN search can be useful information for people researching a used car such as, obtaining a car history report, verifying if the odometer is accurate, checking if the car has a salvaged title, or if the car was in any major car accidents. Many people have voiced concerns about buying a used car by owner on craigslist, because of all the scams that are out there. These concerns can be somewhat mitigated by doing some quick research before handing over any cash for that used car, running a vehicle history report can reveal the truth and if there are any problems that were not disclosed. Another way to verify the car for sale by owner is legit is to verify if the owner is the seller of the vehicle. You may want to ask them to show you their driver’s license and match that with the car title or registration before making the purchase. Most importantly, never send any money until you see and verify the used the car in person. Buying a stolen vehicle happens, and the buyer is the one that pays the price. With over 275 million vehicles on the road, according to a 2020 Department of Transportation report, the need for vehicle related information has become significant, especially for people researching a used car they are interested in. With a quick online license plate number search or VIN check, a person can research the history of most any car to make a more informed decision.

Common Used Car Scams

Cars for sale by owner scams are on the rise, there are many online platforms that host used car sales but not all the listings are legitimate, even though the platform is. According to the FTC in December 2022 report, car buying scams have gone up significantly year over year, from flood damaged cars to phony car sales. It’s a good idea to keep that in mind when purchasing a used car from an unknown seller. There are a few obvious things to look out for with popular used car scams:

  1. If the used car owner asks you to pay them before you see the car in person. This is a big red flag that should be avoided
  2. If the used car seller attempts to pressure you into sending them a deposit because there is a lot of interest in the car they’re selling. this is a major red flag
  3. If the seller is not local or in another state or country, do not make a deal without seeing the car and owner together. The seller might not even own the car they’re trying to sell
  4. If the deal is too good to be true, then maybe it is. Make sure to do your research and run a vehicle history report and check the status of the title to make sure the car isn’t a lemon.
  5. If you cannot get the car owner to meet you in person, then this is very risky as well. You will want to verify they are the owner of the vehicle before making any transaction
  6. If the car owner asks for a bunch of personal information over the phone then you might consider they’re trying to get steal your identity, this is also a prevalent online scam to look out for.

Run a Car Owner Search By State

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Responses to “Find Who Owns a Car

  1. squarryadministrator says:

    Marshall, this sounds like a fraud situation that you may want to discuss with the motor vehicle department directly and/or the police

  2. Marshall says:

    Someone show my title my truck without me knowing it I have the title they did not

  3. Marshall traughber says:

    Someone so my vehicle without my permission my name is on the title

  4. sydney mitchell says:

    I am totally depressed. Back in 04 I had built a Harley-Davidson with my father. It was the only thing that we ever built together and for the most part we were like oil and water except for this one project. He passed away in 07 in 010 I had financial difficulty and had to sell that motorcycle. I’ve been searching for it for many years I’m trying to reach out to the new owners and possibly buy it back. I don’t know where to look or who can help I just want to explain my story and maybe hopefully I can get the bike back can you help

  5. squarryadministrator says:

    Tara, you’ll need to visit a motor vehicle department in person to handle the title transfer of the vehicle. Once you’ve satisfied all the requirements and pay the relevant fees, you’ll be issued a new car title and registration

  6. Tara Williams says:

    Bought it with a bill of sale and I need to tag it but I don’t have a title

  7. squarryadministrator says:

    Jackie, it sounds like you have a case. You’ll want to file a police report first and then either contact the clerk of the courts to inquire about personally filing a claim or seek the guidance of a legal attorney

  8. Jackie says:

    I recently had a man trespass onto my property. When I told him to leave he got hostile and defensive, getting into my face and staying on my property for an extended time frame. THe police never showed up even though I called twice and told them the situation. I want to press charges for trespassing. Is this valid?

  9. William Crummie says:

    I have been looking to buy this motorcycle and the guy that is selling it don’t have a title or any paper work on it. How do I find out if he is the owner or not by the vin number.

  10. squarryadministrator says:

    Mac, first, hopefully everyone is ok and uninjured. Next, you’ll want to file a hit and run with the police, they can run partial license plate numbers and if you have the make and model of the vehicle, that will be helpful as well. Then, you’ll want to notify your insurance company and if you have Uninsured Motorist Insurance you shouldn’t have to pay a deductible and the insurance company.

  11. Mac says:

    On Tuesday, 9 August 2022 I was at the traffic light waiting to turn right at the intersection of Contee Rd & Laurel-Bowie Rd (Rt 197, Laurel MD). A reckless driver that appeared to be a 19-20 yr old African American male rear-ended me. When I got out of my vehicle to talk to the young man & get his driver’s information, he quickly backed up & sped off in the opposite direction on Contee Rd. Other than the appearance of the person, I was only able to get a partial tag # (first 3 digits possibly 1EZ), the color of the car (light grey), and possible make (Ford/Lincoln, older model). I called the police and waited to make a report. They will look into it but said it was probably a runner. How can I find out through MD DMV any vehicles with those first 3 digits? As it stands, I will have to pay for the damage to my vehicle through my insurance. What can be done? There were others around and it would be a kind deed if someone that saw the car & tag number would report the accident to the Laurel, MD police.

  12. squarryadministrator says:

    Karen, since there is a police report, you should be able to file the suit for reckless driving at your local county courthouse. Call first and discuss your options with the clerk of the court and give them the civil case number.

  13. Karen Green says:

    I was almost hit by a child driving reckless on a parking lot with his mom and sister in the vehicle. Why are children driving cars without permits or licenses on the streets. Police was notified to the scene, gave me a civil case number. Officer states for privacy reasons he can not reveal the owner’s information.
    How can I file without knowing who to file the complete about?

  14. squarryadministrator says:

    Mitchell, it sounds a little suspicious indeed, it’s always prudent to trust one’s instincts with a big purchase like a used car

  15. Mitchell Charles says:

    I’m trying to buy a car. The guy never wants to meet me any place like a bank or a FedEx Office. He only wants to meet in parking lots of closed businesses. Something’s not right when I ask for the title. Always a story.

  16. squarryadministrator says:

    What If Someone Abandoned A Car On My Property?

    Depending on what state you live in, if a car was abandoned on your property you have the right to have it removed at the owner’s expense. The first step is to contact the police department and report this abandoned vehicle. It’s best to let them help guide you to the next steps so you are staying within the guidelines of removing an abandoned vehicle as well as minimizing any expenses you need to put out to have the vehicle towed

  17. Carlo G Spicola says:

    Five cars are on my property the so called owner as never shown me no title of ownership but it seems to have the keys. I would like to know what I could do my rights have the car to remove it’s a person doesn’t agree with the payment of it a great upon.

  18. Annie Baker says:

    I am a retired teacher of 35 years. I desire to have a reliable car to travel in free of problems and repairs. This white Mercedes Benz E350 is a car I am considering. Is it a good purchase. I don’t have extra money for repairs. Thanks for your help.

  19. R. Dickson says:

    Need to know who truck is titled in before I consider buying it.
    Arizona tag CNA0353

  20. squarryadministrator says:

    Clifton, you can find out quite a bit about your car by running a vehicle history report. Just enter the 17 digit vin number on the form at the top of this page and choose the vehicle history report option. You can find out the history of your car, if the title is clean and what your car specs are, in just a few moments.

Last Updated: 2023-02-06

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