Q:

How does someone trace a vehicle owner?

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Quick Answer

Although it is not always 100 percent accurate, it is possible to trace a vehicle's vehicle identification number, or VIN and previous titles through the local Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV. VINs were standardized after 1981, so every vehicle produced that year or later should have an individual identification number that can be tracked if every change in ownership of the vehicle was properly documented.

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Full Answer

Whether a current owner of a vehicle is trying to figure out who previously owned their vehicle, or if someone is looking to find who currently owns a vehicle that he or she used to have, the local DMV office is the best resource.

All changes of ownership to a vehicle should have been documented by changing the owner on the title of the vehicle. These records are kept by the state and most offices allow the public to look up these records for a small fee. All vehicles produced after 1981 should have a standardized VIN that will give information as to where the vehicle was manufactured and what make and model it is. The number should be on a sticker either in the cab or around the engine of the vehicle. If all transactions and ownership changes of the vehicle were legal and properly documented through the state, tracing the VIN of any vehicle should help to trace who owns or owned that vehicle.

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