If you’re in the market for a used car it is important to make sure you don’t get scammed.
One of the major things you’ll want to protect yourself from is unknowingly purchasing a stolen vehicle.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to make sure the car you’re interested in matches what the seller is telling you.
The vehicle identification number (VIN), is a major key in checking if a car is stolen.
This page will show you how to check if a car has been reported as stolen by using the VIN.
All you’ll need to have is the vehicle’s 17-digit VIN and an internet connection.
Check if a Car is Stolen by VIN for Free
If you’re in the early stages of researching a used car, one of the first things you can check is whether or not the car is stolen.
Fortunately, there is a quick and free option to check for stolen cars by VIN.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) provides a VIN Check service that is 100% to use.
You’ll be able to use the service to search up to 5 VINs within 24 hours – this should be plenty if you’re shopping around and comparing used cars.
To get started, please visit the NICB VIN Check website at: https://www.nicb.org/vincheck
This VIN lookup uses the vehicle identification number to cross reference a database of stolen vehicles.
Data comes from the following sources:
- Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Company
- Advantage Opco, LLC
- Aegis Group
- Alliance Insurance Companies
- Allianz U.S. Group
- Allstate Insurance Group
- Ally Insurance Holdings, Inc.
- American Access Casualty Company
- American Alliance Casualty Company
- American Family Insurance Group
- CONNECT, Powered by American Family Insurance
- Main Street America Group
- Permanent General Corporation
- American Integrity Insurance Company of Florida, Inc.
- American Modern Insurance Group
- American National P&C Group
- American Road
- Amica Mutual Group
- Arbella Insurance Group
- Ascendant Commercial Insurance Company
- Aspire General Insurance Company
- Assurant Solutions
- ATTIC, RRG
- Auto Club Group
- AAA of the Carolinas – Members
- AAA of the Carolinas – Universal
- Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida
- Auto Club South Insurance Company
- Auto-Owners Insurance Group
- Baldwin & Lyons Group
- Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group
- Buckle Agency, LLC
- California Casualty Group
- Canal Group
- Capital Insurance Group
- Capitol Insurance Company
- Caterpillar Insurance Company
- CC Services, Inc.
- CEM Insurance Company
- Central Mutual Insurance Company
- Centennial Casualty Company
- Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
- Cincinnati Financial Corporation
- Clearcover Insurance Company
- CNA Insurance Companies
- Commonwealth Casualty Company
- Crusader Insurance Company
- CSAA Insurance Group
- CUNA Mutual Group
- CURE Auto Insurance
- Donegal Insurance Group
- Elephant Insurance Company
- Employers Mutual Casualty Company
- Erie Insurance Group
- Everest Re Group
- Falcon Insurance Group
- Farmers Insurance Exchange
- Fed Nat
- Federated Mutual Group
- First American Corporation
- First Insurance Company of Hawaii Group
- Frankenmuth Group
- Georgia Farm Bureau Group
- GeoVera Holdings Inc., Group
- Global Liberty Insurance Company of New York
- GoAuto Insurance Company
- Grange Insurance Association
- Grange Mutual Casualty Group
- Great American Property and Casualty Insurance Group
- Great Divide Insurance Company
- Greater New York Group
- Hallmark Financial Services
- Hanover Insurance Group
- Hartford Insurance Group
- HiRoad Assurance Company
- Horace Mann Insurance Group
- Hudson Insurance Group
- ICW Group
- Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company
- Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club
- Kemper Corporation
- Kentucky Farm Bureau Group
- Key Insurance Company
- Lebanon Valley Insurance Company
- Liberty Mutual Group
- Loya Group
- MAPFRE/Commerce Insurance
- Markel Corporation Group
- Merchants Insurance Group
- Mercury General Group
- MetLife Auto & Home Group
- Metromile Insurance Company
- MGA Insurance Company, Inc.
- Midwest Family Insurance Company
- MMG Insurance Company
- Motorists Insurance Group
- Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Company
- National General Insurance Management Corporation
- National Unity Insurance Company
- Nations Insurance Company
- Nautilus Insurance Company
- New Jersey Manufacturers Group NJM
- NLC Insurance Companies
- Norfolk and Dedham Group
- NYCM Insurance Group
- OneBeacon Insurance Group
- OOIDA Risk Retention Group, Inc.
- Palisades Safety and Insurance Association
- Patrons Co-operative of Vermont
- Pekin Insurance Company
- PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company
- Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company
- Plymouth Rock Companies
- PMA Capital Corporation
- Preferred Mutual Insurance Company
- Producers National Corporation
- Progressive Group
- Qualitas Insurance Company
- Quincy Mutual Group
- Rider Insurance Company
- Rockingham Insurance Company
- Safe Auto Insurance Company
- Safety Group
- Safeway Insurance Group
- Sentry Insurance Group
- SFM Mutual Insurance Company
- Shelter Insurance Companies
- Sompo Japan Insurance, Inc.
- Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Group
- Southern Fidelity Group
- Southern Pioneer Insurance Company
- Spinnaker Insurance Company
- State Farm Group
- Stillwater Insurance Group
- Sutter Insurance Company
- Swiss Re Group
- Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Group
- Tokio Marine Group
- Traders Insurance
- Tri-State Consumer Insurance Company
- United Automobile Insurance Group
- United Services Automobile Association
- Utica National Insurance Group
- Wawanesa Insurance Group
- Western National Mutual Group
- Western Service Contract Group aka Pacific Specialty
- Westfield Group
- WRC Group of Companies
- Zurich North America
The search will reveal two important records for the vehicle:
- Theft records.
- Total loss records.
The theft records will inform you whether or not the vehicle associated with the VIN has been reported as stolen.
The total loss record will inform you whether or not the vehicle has ever been determined to be a total loss by insurance companies or state DMVs as a result of an accident or other damage.
In either case, you should be extremely wary of moving forward with the purchase.
If you suspect someone is trying to sell you a stolen vehicle, you should contact law enforcement and report it.
Order a Vehicle History Report to Get the Full Picture
If the initial search for the vehicle comes back clean, then your next step may be ordering a vehicle history report.
The full vehicle history report will give you more information and insights into a vehicle’s history, title, ownership, and other specs.
You can learn more about them in our comprehensive vehicle history report guide.
Damaged and Stolen Vehicle Scams
Accidentally purchasing a stolen vehicle is not a situation you want to be in. It comes with all sorts of hassle, headaches, and costs.
A smart buyer should recognize the signs of a stolen vehicle before they get too far into the transaction.
First and foremost, if a used car deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Protect yourself by checking the VIN and ordering a vehicle history report.
If the seller doesn’t want to share the VIN with you or won’t let you inspect the vehicle yourself, that should be taken as a huge red flag.
Some common used car scams to be aware of include:
- VIN cloning, where the criminal fakes the car’s VIN so that running it will come up clean.
- Hiding the signs of flood damaged, salvage, or totaled vehicles without disclosing it.
- Trying to close the deal sight unseen, for a price far below fair market value, or trying to rush the transaction.
- Not providing you with any paperwork.
Always be sure to do your homework when you’re interested in a used vehicle.
With just a few minutes, you can check a vehicle’s VIN to uncover many details that are going to help you make sure you’re not getting scammed.
Protect yourself – always check the VIN!