Is it safe to share your VIN – Vehicle Identification Number?

As Americans, we hold a certain level of secrecy around personal identifying numbers. We shroud our Social Security number in secrecy, hold tight to our credit card numbers, and even blur out license plates in pictures.

To what effect? In addition to the obvious protection against identity theft, this level of privacy provides us comfort and a sense of security. We feel better knowing that others don’t know everything about us and our lives, myself included!

What is a VIN?

Should you be as secretive with your vehicles VIN? In case you were wondering, VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. It is a unifying number on every vehicle that provides insight into numerous aspects of your vehicle such as the year, make, and model.

VINs allow mechanics and technicians to confidently order replacement parts for your vehicle knowing they will 100% fit based on the VIN.

VIN Security

The question remains: Is it safe to share your VIN with anyone other than an auto mechanic or technician?

The simple answer is yes. There is nothing compromising about sharing your vehicle’s VIN. In most cases, it visible from the exterior of the vehicle, and any random Joe can come along and look.

The VIN only provides certain information about your vehicle.

Be Careful

While it is perfectly fine to share your VIN with people, though I don’t think it makes for riveting conversations, there is something to be said about those who refuse to share their vehicle VIN.

Each VIN is unique to each vehicle and because of this, the VIN is often used to check a vehicle’s accident history. Someone who is hiding their VIN may be trying to hide prior damage in a vehicle they want to sell.

If you are purchasing a used car from any retailer or private party, be sure to ask for the VIN. Then, on your own time, run a vehicle history report like Carfax. If the seller is hesitant to provide it explain why you need it. If they refuse to provide it still, run for the hills.

 

TLDR:

Yes, it is safe to share your vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number. It does not contain any compromising personal information. A VIN explains a great deal about vehicles but most importantly are used to run a vehicle history report. If a seller refuses or is hesitant to provide you the VIN of a vehicle, it could be a sign they are trying to hide prior damage done to the vehicle.

 

Author: B. Delamater

 

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