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Your VIN is your vehicle’s identification number. Like your fingerprints are unique to and identify you, your car’s VIN is one-of-a-kind. It is visible on some vehicles by simply walking up to the windshield and taking a look at the tiny plate attached to the dashboard.

One can also search license plate numbers in order to find the VIN, which is a common practice when trying to determine a vehicle’s history, such as whether it's been in an accident.

To answer the introductory question: Yes. It is completely safe to give out your VIN (it is within plain sight, after all). Sharing your VIN when selling your car is critical to you getting the best value for your vehicle. Being transparent with buyers is how you get top dollar for your car and avoid any legal snafus in the future.

scammer on phone

“So, there are zero risks in sharing your VIN?”

Well, no. There’s always the threat of VIN cloning.

What Is VIN Cloning?

VIN cloning is an illegal process in which someone copies the VIN from an unsuspecting vehicle of the same make and model of one that they stole in order to change documentation.

Cloning the VIN is a means of masking vehicle theft; the stolen car gets a legitimate plate from a registered vehicle (often from a completely different area).

A more intrusive method of VIN cloning that exists is physically stealing the plate off of the vehicle. This is done via cutting it out of the car’s frame then welding it to another car of the same make and model.

How To Avoid VIN Cloning

While VIN cloning is a difficult crime to commit, it’s still being done. In order to protect yourself from being victimized by it, there are a few measures you can take to guard yourself against VIN cloning.

When buying a car, always verify that the VINs match on both the documentation and the vehicle.

Make sure the VIN on the dashboard and the door frame match. While it’s unlikely for thieves to take the welding approach to VIN cloning, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Thoroughly research your exact make and model; the VIN might match the make, but the model may be off just a bit.

VIN cloning to mask theft isn’t the only risk associated with your vehicle identification number.

Identity Theft

It should go without saying that anyone willing to steal your physical vehicle identification numbers can also gain access to and steal your identity. They can very easily discover your name, address, nationality, age, etc. all through your VIN.

With that type of information, they can do further harm. For instance, filing a false tax return with your info. While not particularly harmful, it can be an extremely annoying issue to deal with.

Benefits of Giving Out Your VIN

While there are some risks, giving out your VIN comes with hefty advantages.

  • Better Sales - Buyers will always ask for the VIN in order to verify the specifics of the car. This ensures they can make the best decision on the price and that the seller won’t demand an outrageous amount.
  • Increased Trust - A VIN is a look into a vehicle’s condition, make, model, and owner history. When a seller provides that for the buyer, the buyer can feel validated by the transparency and trust the seller to not be trying to get over on them.
client on computer

CarBrain & Your VIN

As an online buyer specializing in less-than-perfect cars, CarBrain utilizes your VIN to give you the best fair market price we can. Your VIN helps us paint a complete picture of your vehicle, along with several pictures and the year, make, and model.

Once you’ve provided those pieces of information, our associate buyers can kick back an offer on your vehicle. These offers are valid for up to seven days and you have ZERO obligation to accept it. If you do, however, we’ll connect you with a local service provider and tow your car for FREE with 24-48 hours.

Contact CarBrain now and see how much your vehicle’s VIN can get you!


Get a safe, fair market offer for your car!

What Can Someone Do With My VIN Number?

Criminals can use your VIN to register a stolen vehicle, make insurance claims on totaled vehicles, and make duplicate keys of your car.

Are VINs considered personal information?

Sort of. Your car’s VIN is its fingerprints or social security number: completely unique to your car. However, unlike your fingerprints or social security number, it’s easily available — anyone can find it simply by looking at the right spot on your car.