How to find out who owns a U.S. car by the license plate

Written by jesse lanclos
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How to find out who owns a U.S. car by the license plate
License plates can tell you who owns a particular car. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you need to know who owns a car, you can find out by performing a reverse license plate number search. This can be useful if you've been in a hit-and-run accident or if you have seen someone in your neighbourhood doing something that merits suspicion. You can also use a reverse license plate search to find out who owns a car to protect yourself if you suspect someone is following or stalking you.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • License plate number

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Find the name and location of the office in your state that keeps driver's license and car registration information. Often, this is the department of motor vehicles. Sometimes, however, it is called the "tag office" or tax collector's office. This is the first stop in finding out who owns a car by the license plate.

  2. 2

    Tell the clerk at the office you need to "run a tag" if you want to find out who owns a car by the license plate. In some states, no further information is necessary. You simply give the clerk the license plate number, and the clerk gives you a printout with the car owner's personal information. This might include the owner's address, driver's license number and other information that is not readily available online.

  3. 3

    Provide a sufficient reason why you are entitled to receive the information. In some states, you must provide the clerk with additional information before you are allowed to find out the who owns a car by the license plate. For example, you may be required to show proof that you were in a hit-and-run accident or that you have some other legal right to obtain this information.

  4. 4

    Ask the police for help. If you are unable to find out who owns a care by the license plate by following the steps above and you have a valid reason to request it, the police can find the information for you by doing a reverse license plate number search. They might not give the information to you, but they might be able to help you solve your problem.

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