When you want to purchase a vehicle, it's a good idea to be sure who owns it. If there's any doubt about whether the person selling the car actually owns it, there are steps you can take to verify the information.
Write down the number plate number of the vehicle.
Write down the VIN number of the vehicle. VIN numbers are etched into several locations on a vehicle so they are accessible even if the car is locked. This VIN number is visible from outside the vehicle on the driver's side of the dashboard where it meets the windshield.
Run a CarFax vehicle history report at carfax.com. This will tell you who owns the title and the last known address for the person.
Call your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and provide them with the number plate number. Although they may not be able to give you an address for security reasons, they may give you a phone number to contact the person.
If all else fails, hire a company to track down the previous owner. Doing an Internet search for "find vehicle owner" will provide you with a long list of companies whose rates vary.
Because all the information you need is available through public records, it's usually possible to locate a car's owner on your own, although hiring a company may be quicker.
Tips and warnings
- Because all the information you need is available through public records, it's usually possible to locate a car's owner on your own, although hiring a company may be quicker.