License Plate Lookup Search: How to Reverse Any Vehicle Plate
Updated on June 18, 2018
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Do you need a license plate lookup search? Whether you’ve just been involved in a hit-and-run, you want to find out who owns the car that’s been following you around, or you’re sick and tired of seeing an obviously abandoned vehicle parked on the street outside your house, a license plate lookup is an invaluable tool.
But in order to get the answers you need, you have to understand how the license plate search process actually works.
What You Should Know:
With a good license plate lookup, you can get the full name and address of the vehicle owner. You’ll also get the vehicle’s make, model, year and vin number — which is an easy way to see if the license plate has been stolen and attached to a different car. You’ll also learn if the vehicle in question has any liens associated with it.
Where does all of this information come from?
All license plate information comes from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. That means you can count on it to be accurate and current.
Sounds great, right? Well, unfortunately, there’s a catch.
The License Plate Lookup Dilemma
The ONLY people who have access to the DMV’s current records are law enforcement and licensed private investigators. Since you can’t run out and hire a cop for the afternoon to look up a license plate, you’ll need to work with a private investigator.
The problem? MOST of the license plate search services that you see online aren’t run by licensed private investigators. That means you can’t count on them to get you the right information.
Even worse, many of these websites purposely fudge the details so that you think you’re getting great information — but they know you’re not. They’re simply hoping you don’t know enough about the license plate search process to see that their smooth sales copy and slick promises aren’t worth the bandwidth they’re taking up.
If you don’t want to waste your time — or your hard-earned money — on a bogus license plate search, read on. We’ll show you exactly how the process is SUPPOSED to work, so that you know what to do to get the best results.
As we’ve mentioned, a legitimate license plate lookup has to be done either by law enforcement or a licensed private investigator. So what exactly are you going to get from the scam artists?
License Plate Search Scams
First, you’ll probably see that the website promises you instant results. This is one of the biggest red flags in this industry! No one — not even law enforcement — can spit out information instantly. In order to provide instant answers, a website needs to already have the information stored on its server. That means the odds of you getting outdated information are incredibly high. After all, when’s the last time they bothered to update their server?!
With a legitimate license plate search, your private investigator will have to request the registration information from the state. And as you can probably guess, that means it won’t be available instantly. However, it will be quick (in most cases, less than an hour) and correct, which is what really matters!
Even if the website claims that it updates its servers all the time, it’s impossible for them to give you accurate license plate registration information. That’s because these websites fail to mention that they’re NOT run by licensed private investigators or law enforcement professionals, so even if they have the most update server in the entire world, they’re not allowed to access license plate registration information from the DMV!
But an instant results guarantee isn’t the only red flag you need to look out for.
Those shady websites also tend to make another bogus promise — free license plate searches.
Remember what your Mom used to say when you were little? If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Mom was right when you thought you could pass your AP English Exam simply by scanning the cliff notes on Shakespeare, and she’s right now.
Let’s put it this way — all of those singers crooning about how the best things in life are free aren’t talking about license plate searches!
Some scammy websites may promise free license plate searches in their savvy sales copy, but in order to get the real story, you have to read the fine print. In the vast majority of cases, it’s free to type the license plate number in question into the search box. After that, a cute little pop-up window usually appears, telling you that if you actually want to see your search results, you’ll have to hand over your credit card information!
Some websites even take this a step further. Instead of charging you a one-time fee to access their search results, some force you to sign up for a costly monthly subscription in order to run a single search.
Other websites aren’t quite as bold. They won’t go so far as to promise “free” searches, but they’ll admit to charging a small fee for their information. Then, they give you a great sales pitch — their service is so cheap that you’d be crazy NOT to tap into their database and snag instant information. This is a classic pressure tactic used by shady salesmen. They make what seems like a great argument, then pressure you to make a decision before you have a chance to really think about it.
Some of these websites can’t resist taking more advantage of you once you’ve bought into a bogus sales pitch. Sure, you’ll pay a small search price now. However, you’ll also inadvertently agree to their terms, which may include all kinds of hidden fees. You may even sign up for a monthly subscription without even knowing it!
But if they can’t access the DMV’s records, what on earth are you paying them to give you?
In virtually every state, the DMV will sell old license plate records that don’t contain current ownership names and addresses. In most cases, these records are at least 3-5 years old. It’s like adding insult to injury — your free search isn’t really free, and your search results aren’t really accurate!
Of course, you won’t see any of these ugly details in that shiny sales copy because these shady websites work hard to make themselves sound irresistible. They’re crossing their fingers, hoping you don’t know the ins and outs of a real license plate search, and that you’ll buy into their scammy sales pitch.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. We actually checked out a few license plate lookup websites. Here’s what we found out:
– On a site called Search Quarry, there was a very important disclaimer buried in the teeny-tiny fine print on their website. Specifically, it said, “Please be aware that the information obtained using SearchQuarry.com searches may not always be accurate and up to date, as we do not create, verify, or guarantee the accuracy or the amount of information provided through our service.”
– On Verispy’s website, the come right out and say that they don’t provide “any non-publicly available information”. That’s a fancy way of saying that they can only give you information that’s available to the general public. They can’t access the DMV records. Even worse, they can’t give you anything that you can’t go find yourself!
– Buried deep in Everify.com’s Terms of Service, it says, “You agree and understand that the availability of a search report does not necessarily mean that the report will yield correct results, relevant results, or any results at all.”
They can’t promise to give you correct and relevant information? Then why on earth would you waste your time on their website?
Unfortunately, we were only able to dig up these awful disclaimers because we knew to look for them. Most people don’t have the background that our licensed private investigators do, so they don’t know that they should be actively looking for red flags like these.
Even worse, people may base important decisions on the information they get on these websites. How would you feel if you found out that you moved forward with inaccurate information? The fallout could be very damaging, in addition to being a complete waste of your time and money.
As bad as these examples have been, there’s still one more red flag you need to look out for when you’re searching for someone to handle your license plate lookup — unlimited searches.
On the surface, this sounds amazing. Unlimited searches! You’ll always be able to find out who’s lurking behind a specific license plate! You’ll never lack information ever again!
Yes, a license plate lookup company may actually offer you unlimited access to its database. But unless the company is run by licensed private investigators, all you’ll get are those old, inaccurate records we’ve been talking about. Sure, you’ll get to see all of it, but none of it will do you any good. You won’t be able to take any kind of action once you have it.
Even worse, you usually have to pay a pretty penny to get this unlimited access. In most cases, you’re forced to buy an expensive subscription to become one of their unlimited VIPs. You know what that means? The scammers are enjoying pure profit, while you’re essentially flushing your money down the toilet!
Bottom line — in the license plate search world, “free” and “cheap” simply don’t exist!
Fortunately, you know the real story now. That means you’ll know exactly how to do your homework the next time you need to do a license plate search!
The Right License Plate Lookup – The Docusearch Way
Let’s move onto the good stuff now — like what you can expect from a legitimate license plate search service.
For starters, you can forget about those old records. Remember, private investigators have the same access to the DMV that law enforcement does. That means they can get their hands on up-to-the-minute license plate registration information.
Even better, you won’t have to scroll past a mountain of big, bold sales copy to get the real story. Put away your magnifying glass, because legitimate license plate lookup companies don’t have a sea of fine print. They won’t try to hide any unsavory details from you, like hidden fees or surprise subscriptions. Everything you need to know will be in plain sight, at a size you can actually read, without any confusing legal mumbo-jumbo.
As far as money is concerned, reputable licensed private investigators will charge you a one-time fee before their license plate search begins. You won’t be asked to hand over your credit card again in order to see the results, and you won’t be forced into any kind of subscription plan.
How much will you have to pay?
Your one-time fee can vary, depending on what state you’re in. Since there’s no set policy for all of the state DMVs, the money you pay depends on what they require. Rest assured, though, that you’ll never be overcharged by a legitimate group of private investigators! (Here at Docusearch, you’ll likely pay right around $40 for one search.)
When it comes to the information itself, the good investigators won’t be able to churn out immediate information. That’s because they don’t rely on servers, automated data aggregation tools, and instant promises. Instead, they go through the DMV records by hand, then put everything together in a comprehensive, easy-to-understand report that you can actually use to take action.
Even better, the best investigators know how to work efficiently — without cutting corners or sacrificing the accuracy of your search results. Like the cost, the exact time it takes to run your license plate search depends on your state, since different DMVs have different protocols. (Here at Docusearch, we can return most license plate lookups in as little as an hour, while some other states may take a couple of days to give us the information.)
What should you do next?
The Docusearch team is licensed to run license plate lookups in 37 states.
Have any questions? We’ll be happy to answer them before you pay us a single cent! Here at Docusearch, we know that knowledge is power — and we pride ourselves on giving you the power to take action! Start your license plate lookup now.
Additional License Plate Lookup Search Articles:
- License Plate Lookup Scam Alert — Always Read the Fine Print!
- License Plate Search – How to Search License Plate Numbers Online
- Is It Legal to Run a License Plate? (The Answer May Surprise You)
- License Plate Lookup: The Untold Story
- Why Use a Licensed PI For Your License Plate Search?
- Is There a Free License Plate Lookup?