What Information Is Needed to Check If a Car Is Stolen?


Quick Answer

The VIN for the automobile is necessary to check if a car is stolen. Run the number through a VIN checking service, such as CARFAX, to get a history for the car, then look for red flags that can indicate a stolen vehicle.

Continue Reading
What Information Is Needed to Check If a Car Is Stolen?
Credit: sestovic iStock / Getty Images Plus Getty Images

Full Answer

A VIN check can tell whether a car is stolen or if the vehicle is involved in VIN fraud. VIN fraud is when a car's VIN has been changed to hide its origin.

Find the various VIN panels on the car. The VIN is usually located on a plate on the vehicle's dashboard, as well as on a driver's door sticker, the car frame, printed on the title and any service records. The first thing to look for is that the VINs all match. If there are mismatched VINs in any of the documents or on the vehicle, the vehicle may be stolen.

Also check whether the VINs on the vehicle have been disturbed. The stickers and panels may be loose, or any incised numbers may be scrubbed off or changed. If the history check reveals a cloned VIN number, it is another indication of a possibly stolen car. Check that the reported mileage matches the actual mileage shown to determine if the vehicle is tampered with as well. Multiple auto registrations in several different states can also be an indicator.

Learn more about DMV & Records

Related Questions