People frequently inquire as to whether it is possible to determine someone’s home address with merely their license plate information.
There are a variety of reasons why a person, company, or organization might be asking this question if they do not already know the address information for the person using a car.
This article aims to address queries about the ability of individuals to find your address using your license plate. We will provide valuable insights and cover everything you should know about this matter.
How do license number plates work?
All vehicles on the road in the UK must be registered using the number plate system, which is simple to use. Each car has a distinct registration number that the DVLA uses to keep track of it. In order for the DVLA (and related authorities) to know whether your car has a current MOT and is insured, they share databases with the police and insurers. In the event that you are photographed by any fixed-mounted cameras (speed cameras) or police cameras, your license plate may also be used to identify the vehicle (but not the person).
Need to verify the MOT Status of a car?
How to find the address of the vehicle owner by number plate?
Fill out form V888 from the DVLA and include a “just cause” explanation if you wish to know the address. If, for instance, you have concerns about a car that has been parked outside your home, it is unlikely that the DVLA will give you this information. Instead of conducting your own inquiry, it would be much preferable to inform the DVLA or the local government.
Reasons why Your Address May Be Retrieved From the License Plate
- If a person has been in a car accident with that vehicle or if the driver of that vehicle has damaged their own property or caused damage to another person’s property and fled the scene without disclosing their information, they may want to get that person’s address from the license plate.
- It’s possible that a vehicle has been left unattended on a piece of private property or land, and the landowner wants to find out who is responsible for the vehicle’s removal in order to avoid having to foot the bill.
- In order to make contact with the person and demand payment or to pursue this through legal means, a business or firm may need to identify the name and address of a person who has left their premises after taking goods or services without paying for them.
- To issue or prosecute a parking or other driving offence penalty or paperwork, a parking enforcement agency or business or other driving penalty enforcement agency may need to obtain information relating to the address of the owner of a vehicle.
- The driver of the vehicle may have been involved in a dispute, altercation, or conflict; they may not be known to the person seeking information, but they may have harmed them or damaged their property. The person may require the address of the other person in order to seek legal recourse, carry out various forms of retaliation, or both. They might only have their license plate to go on.
- There may have been a traffic violation committed but not reported to the police, or someone may have seen something suspicious like a person getting into a car to drive while intoxicated or using drugs, a baby being transported without the proper and legal safety precautions, or a vehicle that appears to be unroadworthy and wants to get the address or contact information of the person to follow up with them.
- There may have been a road rage incident, and someone wants to escalate the situation or continue the argument, but they need the home address of the other party to do so.
Sometimes, and sometimes not, it is possible to determine someone’s address from their license plate. There are circumstances under which this is feasible, but it depends on a variety of variables and on the privacy regulations that apply to personal data.
Instances where your address cannot be retrieved from the license plate
- The fact that the driver of the car at the time of the incident in question might not be the owner of the car, might be a friend or relative of the owner borrowing the car, might be a named driver or driving under their own fully comprehensive and transferrable insurance, or might even have stolen the car, is the first hurdle that needs to be considered when trying to determine someone’s home address from their vehicle registration.
- It might be a car from the company fleet or a rental car. All of this would imply that even if you managed to obtain this information, the vehicle registration would never be able to be linked to this person. False car registration is another issue; owners give their own residence as the address for the vehicle.
- A person who engages in illegal or harmful activities and behaviors is unlikely to be concerned about this, and if they do not want their home address to be traced through the registration of the car that they drive, they may well have given false information when registering ownership of the vehicle. Insurance would be void if it were discovered that this was not the location that the vehicle was actually kept at. It’s also possible that the individual who is now in control of the vehicle did not complete the necessary paperwork to transfer ownership or failed to update it after moving or changing their address.
All of this means that regardless of the data you can get through a car license plate number, there is a chance that any address information you discover will be unhelpful, unreliable, untrue, or outdated.
Can third parties reveal your address from your license plate?
On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that some websites have been somewhat dishonest in their initial claims and that you will not receive the actual address of the person but rather information such as ownership history, MOT records and failures, and any credit or finance outstretched. There are online sites advertising a service where a person seeking the address of an individual from their car registration plate can input this and pay a fee to receive this information. This is a scam because you can find all of this information on the government website for free.
On occasion, a person may lawfully acquire the address information of the car’s owner by using the license plate number. It must be kept in mind that if the vehicle’s registration is inaccurate or if the person driving it at the time of the incident is not the owner, this will not immediately fix the problem but may aid in its final resolution. The Data Protection Act places limitations on the sharing of this information, and an application must be accepted as legitimate in order for an address to be provided. The DVLA might disclose an address in the following circumstances:
- identifying the person who caused a traffic accident on the road.
- identifying the owner of an abandoned car that has been parked on private property or a car that has been left on a private road.
- identifying a customer who departed without paying for the good(s) or service(s) they got.
- locating a person who is thought to be an insurance fraudster.
If there is no valid cause for doing so and the address is sought after or sought in retaliation after an altercation, dispute, or instance of road rage, it will not be feasible to locate the address of a person using their registration plate information.
If the person operating the vehicle has been seen engaging in illegal activity or criminal behavior, it is not necessary to find out the driver’s address, but it is important to report this suspicion to the police along with the license plate number so that they can follow up with the driver in a legitimate and enforceable manner.
Can you be tracked by your license plate?
Nowadays, many of us may feel secure knowing how our personal information is handled because of the priority given to data privacy, and CCTV and other technology also contribute to our sense of security. However, as anyone who has received a speeding ticket will attest, cameras and databases can pinpoint our identities and whereabouts.
It should only be the DVLA or law enforcement who are able to do so, and only with good reason, if you’re worried that someone can identify you through your number plate or even trace your location.
No. Unless there is a valid reason, it is against the law in the UK for us to divulge the registered keeper’s information without that person’s consent.
How many registered keepers the vehicle has had can be determined by running a vehicle check through SmartCarCheck. We just are unable to display detailed, identifying information on prior owners or keepers.