What Can Someone Do with your License Plate Number?

The license plate number is an obvious piece of information about you that anyone can take. In today’s world, where technology has made everything possible, you might worry about leaving this piece of information accessible to everyone on the street. So, an insisting question for some car owners is, what can others do once they get your license plate number? In this read, we will answer this question and give you all the information you need to know regarding this topic.

What’s a License plate number?

A license plate number or vehicle registration plate is a piece of metal or plastic plate fixed to the front and rear of any vehicle to identify it. This plate has a unique identification number, including numbers or numbers and letters to identify each vehicle. All countries around the world require all cars to use this plate. Otherwise, the vehicle owner will be penalized. Now here’s what can happen if someone reports your license plate.

License plate number lookups

Similar to looking up a phone number in a directory, there is a service the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) allows, which is license plate number lookup. With this service, the client gets information about the car and driver. For example, the maintenance or accidents history and the driver’s criminal history. You can also get other basic information about the vehicle itself as the brand, model number, color, and year of manufacturing.

There are other options to look up a license plate number rather than the DMV. If you search the internet, you will find tons of free websites claiming they will provide you with a complete report. You just need to enter the license plate number and get the report.

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Now, you might think, what if I don’t want other people to get access to my private information? Should I hide the license plate number?

A short answer to this question is that you should never hide your license plate number. That’s because covering even part of the license plate is illegal and may subject you to sanctions. So, if you think you’re protecting your privacy by hiding the license plate number, you’re actually harming yourself.

How to protect your license plate number?

In fact, there is no need to protect the number because there is nothing anyone can do with this number. Online databases that claim they can provide reports with just the license plate number are mostly exaggerating. All they can provide is the basic information about a car that anyone can get.

Even looking up the number in the DMV is not as easy as you think. A basic lookup can give information such as the car model and year, which doesn’t even need a lookup. People who have information about cars need nothing except one look at your vehicle. Then, they will know the make, model, and year of manufacture.

On the other hand, private information about you as a driver is not accessible through the DMV easily. You can’t just enter the license plate number of any car and request information about the car or the driver. To do so, there must be a strong legal justification as evidence for involvement in an accident or so. Thus, rest assured that no one can get any information about you from the license plate number. However, the only exception is police officers investigating a legal case.

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Even if police officers and other authorities get some information about you, they are not allowed to share it with anyone else. Thus, your privacy is already protected by the law. There is no need to protect your license plate number, then.

If you’re still worried, you can simply ask your attorney, who can request a report from the DMV about you. Even more, you can contact the DMV itself to ask about the same thing. Alternatively, you can visit the website to know all the information about DMV lookups and how they operate.

Importance of license plate number

You might ask, what’s the importance of the license plate number rather than identifying the car? If police officers can actually get the information they need through legal requests. So, why is it a must to have a license plate number all the time on any car? There are a number of reasons why license plate numbers are important, all of them revolve around identifying the car.

Traffic signs and radars

Radars on the streets record the license plate numbers. Thus, they can identify cars that crossed the speed limits or broke a traffic sign. That’s why all people mustn’t hide their license plate numbers. Otherwise, they will go unidentifiable and break whatever traffic laws they want.

To lookup some information

With the license plate number, it’s possible to look up some information about the car if you intend to buy it, for example. However, you have to provide further verifications to the DMV to accept your request. The DMV may refuse any lookup request unless the car owner himself requested for them. Some of the information you might be interested in is the mileage, accidents history, and vehicle identification number (VIN), and maintenance history.

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If you wonder if someone can find your address from your license plate, then it’s possible if that guy uses online lookup tools, but it’s not always the case.

Identifying drivers

If you see that someone took a picture of your own license plate while you were parked, then probably, they want to identify you.

In some cases, you might want to identify the driver of a certain car if he suddenly hits someone or commits any illegal crimes on the road. The easiest thing is to record the license plate number and go to the nearest police station. Later, they can do the DMV lookup and get the name, address, and other details of the car owner. Reporting road crimes with a license plate number makes it easier for the police to get the criminal in a short time.


After you know everything about license plate numbers, there is no need to worry. Even if everyone can get this number and look it up, they will achieve nothing. You can try to look up your own license plate number to double-check that it’s impossible to get any private information from this number. Hence, there is no need to do anything to keep your information secured.

About Cartipso Writing Team

When every piece of information should be verified, we have the best experts in automobile, and car-related topics to share their latest tips, tricks, and guides with you, every writer double-checks the article, so, readers get real how-to's from mechanics, engineers, and technicians.

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