OSINT for Car Enthusiasts: How to Lookup License Plate with Vehicle OSINT

What Is Vehicle OSINT?

It refers to open-source intelligence related to transportation. This type of intelligence gathering involves collecting publicly available information about vehicles, such as make and model, vehicle identification numbers (VINs), registration details, ownership history, maintenance records, and any other relevant data. It can help you answer such questions as: how to get car VIN number with license plate? Who is a previous owner of a car I’m about to buy? How do I lookup my license plate number? Does the car I want to buy have any hidden issues? How to lookup license plate owner?

Just like any other field of open-source intelligence, OSINT for car enthusiasts involves researching everything that can be found on the Internet about the car and its seller using legal methods. This approach can be an extremely useful tool for potential car buyers, especially in the secondary market, where it is important to have a complete picture of the car's condition, ownership history, and legal cleanliness. As a result, you will be able to buy a car that truly meets your expectations and the seller's description.

OSINT License Plate Research

There are various ways to conduct an OSINT license plate study, including using online databases, social media platforms, public records, and specialized tools designed for this purpose. Here’s an easy breakdown how to lookup a license plate:

  1. Find Out the License Plate Number. Start by noting down the license plate number of the vehicle you want to research. This number is typically displayed on the vehicle's license plate, so you may need to note it down in real life or find it on a car's photo.
  2. Use Search Engines. Exploit Google to input the license plate number in quotation marks and search for any publicly available information related to that specific plate. This may lead you to online forums like Reddit, ads or other websites where the license plate number has been mentioned.
  3. Check Databases. Some online services allow you to look up vehicle information by entering a license plate number which is helpful if you wonder how to identify a car. These databases may provide details such as the vehicle's make and model, registration status, and sometimes even ownership information. For example, check out a Motor Vehicle Registrations governmental database to lookup license plate owner or car details in the US.
  4. Verify with Social Media. Search for the license plate number on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. People sometimes share pictures or posts mentioning their vehicles and license plate numbers, which could provide additional insights into reputation of the seller or car details.

Can You Lookup a License Plate Number Legally?

The short answer is that it is legal to use OSINT for the purpose to look up a license plate. In general, there are ethical ways to access information associated with a license plate number, but there also exist restrictions in order to protect individuals' privacy and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. Consider such methods if you need to lookup the owner of a license plate:

  • Governmental Services. Some states allow individuals to perform limited license plate lookups through the Department of Motor Vehicles or related agencies for legitimate purposes, such as verifying vehicle ownership or checking registration status.
  • Insurance Firms. Such companies may have access to license plate information for the purpose of processing claims, verifying coverage, or investigating accidents. You can consult an insurance firm on how to lookup license plate owner without any legal concerns.
  • Law Enforcement. These agencies have the authority to access license plate information as part of their official duties, such as investigating crimes, conducting traffic stops, or finding stolen vehicles. Thus, if you have serious suspicions and evidence that someone might be selling a stolen car, you can contact the law enforcement authorities.


There are several methods to check the VIN code, depending on your budget and the country of research. But, first of all, you need to know that the VIN code is a unique identifier that is assigned separately to each specific car that can aid you to lookup license plate owner. It consists of 17 characters and contains information about the manufacturer, model, make, specifications and other details. You can find out the VIN code by the following methods:

  • The code is usually indicated in the car's registration certificate.
  • You can find the VIN number on the outside of the hood, usually on the left side when you're facing the car.
  • Some cars may have the VIN number listed on the dashboard, usually near the windshield on the driver's side.
  • You can also find the VIN number on a plate located on the inside of the driver's or passenger's door.

How Can I Lookup a VIN Number?

You may utilize an online VIN checker such as Carfax or national equivalents of this type of database for the vehicle OSINT. This will help you learn about previous owners, accidents, repairs, mileage and other important details. For example, Carfax can provide hidden information about the change of ownership of the car, history of breakdowns and accidents, whether the car was stolen, whether it was previously used for taxi or rental, etc. This method of checking a car by VIN number is not free, but it is suitable for a detailed analysis of the vehicle's condition.>

How to Get Car VIN Number With License Plate?

In order to obtain a car's VIN using the license plate number, you would typically need to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles. They may have specific procedures in place for requesting this information, which could involve providing a valid reason for needing the VIN associated with a particular license plate. Here are examples of some cases when the VIN number and OSINT license plate lookup are relevant:

  • Vehicle history checks for potential buyers to ensure the vehicle's authenticity.
  • Insurance claims, particularly if there's a need to verify vehicle details.
  • Law enforcement purposes, such as investigating a crime or accident.
  • Recalls or safety-related issues where knowing the VIN number is necessary.
  • Legal proceedings that require identifying a specific vehicle.

How to Identify a Car Owner With OSINT?

If you want to get in-depth information about the previous owner when buying a used car, use the services of Molfar. Order the "Background Check on a Person" service to be sure that you are planning a deal with a reliable seller.

We provide assistance in the verification of both individuals and legal entities with vehicle OSINT. In this way, you can check the history of car ownership or the reputation of sellers on marketplaces, car dealers, etc.

We can help with the following types of tasks when concluding a car purchase agreement:

  • Assess the risks of a possible partnership with a person or company.
  • Review the criminal history of the future partner.
  • Conduct an analysis of the credit and property history of a person or business.

What are the Stages of Molfar Vehicle OSINT?

  1. Preliminary Research on a Person or Business. At this stage, we do a free test check at your request to be sure that we can find information about a person or company. In this case, we verify whether Molfar researchers are capable to lookup license plate owner based on the information you have provided.
  2. Coordination of Partnership Terms. If we can accomplish the task of a vehicle ownership history or seller background check, we will agree on the time and conditions for completion. Next, we need your confirmation that everything is in order to start a detailed investigation for OSINT license plate owner analysis.
  3. Full Report Delivery. You receive the results of our work and can leave a request if you need additional data about a person or business.

Do You Have Any Questions Left?

Do you want to involve Molfar in the process of checking the car and its seller, but need to clarify the information? Arrange an investigation of the person based on the OSINT license plate lookup with our support team. Contact us via mail [email protected] or leave a request on our website to get any clarifications or details about the partnership.


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