A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique 17-digit code that identifies a particular vehicle. The VIN is like a fingerprint for a car with information like the manufacturer, make, model, year, and country of origin. Since VIN is important in a vehicle’s identity, dishonest people make a fake VIN number for illegal reasons such as selling stolen or damaged cars or hiding the true history of a car. We’ll look at how to make a fake VIN number in this article to help you understand what people are capable of.
How to make a fake VIN number
Faking a VIN is not as difficult as you might be thinking. Below are the steps dishonest people make a fake VIN number:
1. Find out the car’s make and model.
First, they research the specific make and model of the vehicle before they create a fake VIN number. They need to find a reasonable VIN number that matches the targeted vehicle’s specifications that be generated using this information.
The vehicle’s make and model will give information about the year of manufacture, engine size, body type, and other information that should be in the VIN number. This information helps the perpetrator to identify the type of car needed for the fake VIN swap.
2. Identify the VIN number’s location and format
Finding the VIN number’s location and format on a particular make and model of vehicle is the next step to make a fake VIN number. Typically, the VIN number can be found on:
- the dashboard;
- the driver’s side door jamb;
- and the engine block
Above are just a few of the places where the VIN number could be located. Also, the VIN number format may change depending on the year and place of manufacture of the car.
3. Pick a fake VIN number generator.
There are several fake VIN number generators available online, some of which are free to use. However, it is not legal to use these tools to make a fake VIN number. Accuracy and dependability are not guaranteed by these tools, making them more likely to provide reliable information.
4. Create the fake VIN number
A fake VIN number can be made after finding out the make and model of the car and finding out where and how the VIN number is written.
The 17-digit code has three sections including the following:
- the first 3 digits are the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI);
- the next 6 digits are the Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS); and
- the last 8 digits are the Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS).
The first 3 digits of the VIN number tell you what kind of car it is, where it was manufactured, and who made it (the manufacturer or automaker).
In summary, the first digit of a car’s VIN tells you where the vehicle was made, while the second and third digits provide the manufacturing information.
The following six digits of the VIN number give information about the features of the car, such as the type of engine, body, transmission, and other features. The model year, place of manufacturing and production sequence number of the car are all given by these numbers.
5. Change a VIN number that already exists
Altering an existing VIN number is one of the simplest ways to make a fake VIN number. In order to create a new VIN number using this method, the dishonest seller changes one or more digits or letters in an existing one. A thief may steal a car and change the VIN number by replacing a “3” with an “8” or a “B” with an “E.”
To properly alter the VIN, the person may use a metal stamp or an engraving tool to make a new VIN number on the frame or engine block of the vehicle.
Alternatively, a chemical solvent could be used to remove the old VIN number and replace it with a new one. But it’s getting harder and harder to use this method because modern VIN numbers are etched on more and more parts of the car, making it harder to alter the VIN without leaving a trace.
6. Create a fake Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate
Making a fake VIN plate is another fake VIN number method common in the automotive industry. Here, a new plate with a fake VIN number is made and attached to the car.
The plate might be made from a thin piece of metal or plastic and stamped or engraved with the fictitious VIN number.
The thief might use a computer program or printer to make a copy of an official VIN plate so that the fake plate looks real. They might also add fake stickers or labels to the plate to make it look like it came from a legitimate source.
7. Clone a real VIN number
VIN cloning is in fact the most common form of making a fake VIN number. In this technique, a stolen car’s VIN number is copied onto a stolen or similar car.
For example, a thief might steal a red Honda Civic and register a stolen blue Honda Civic using the VIN number. This enables them to market the stolen blue Honda Civic as a legal car. They may even change the color to red to reflect on the VIN. The car is typically shipped overseas quickly before it gets reported as stolen.
VIN swapping is another option here. A valid VIN will be obtained from a similar vehicle. This can be done by purchasing a VIN from a legitimate source or by stealing a VIN from a similar vehicle. Once the person has a real VIN, they can start to alter it to make a fake VIN.
The thief may use a scanner or computer program to copy the original VIN number onto a fake plate in order to clone it. They could also use a metal stamp or engraving tool to make a new VIN number on the frame or engine block of the stolen car.
One common way to make a fake VIN is to alter the WMI portion of the VIN. By changing the first three characters of the VIN, a person can make it look like the car was made by a different company or in a different country. This involves using a stamping machine to make new characters or grinding off the old characters and replacing them with new ones.
Altering the VDS portion of the VIN is another method for making a fake VIN. By changing the make, model, or engine type of the car, a person can make it look like the car is a different make or model than it is. For instance, if the original VIN says that the car is a Toyota Corolla, someone could alter the VIN to say that the car is a Honda Civic. This can be done by using a stamping machine to make new characters or by grinding off the old characters and replacing them with new ones.
Altering the VIN’s VIS portion is a third way to make a fake VIN. By changing the last eight characters of the VIN, a new serial number can be made for the car. This can be done by using a stamping machine to make new characters or by grinding off the old characters and replacing them with new ones.
Once the fake VIN is made, the person can use it to sell a stolen or damaged car or hide the real history of the car. But making a fake VIN is illegal in most countries and can get you into a lot of trouble if you get caught.
Read also: even dealerships could lose their cars
How can you tell if a VIN number has been tampered with?
Now that we’ve looked at some of the ways that fake VIN numbers are made, let’s look at how to spot them.
1. Check the VIN for errors
Inspect the VIN number carefully for inconsistencies. A VIN number, for instance, should always have 17 digits, and the letters and numbers should follow a certain pattern.
It could be a sign of a fake VIN number if you notice any missing digits, extra digits, or random letters.
2. Look for signs of tampering
If the vehicle’s VIN plate looks like it has been tampered with or removed, it may be an indication that the VIN number is not real.
Look out for scratches, glue, or paint that might show that the plate has been removed and put back on.
3. Check the vehicle history report
Consider checking the vehicle’s history report if you’re still not sure if a VIN number is real or not. Dissimilarities between the vehicle history report and the physical characteristics of the car could suggest a sign of a fake VIN number.
4. Look over the etchings of the VIN number
The frame, engine block, and transmission of modern cars all have VIN numbers etched on them.
These etchings can be examined for signs of tampering or alteration if you suspect a fake VIN number. The etchings should be consistent and match the VIN number on the official registration documents for the vehicle.
5. Decode the VIN number using a VIN decoder
A VIN number decoder can also be used to verify the authenticity of a VIN number. A VIN number decoder is a tool that lets you decode the VIN number and gives you information about the make, model, and year of production of the vehicle.
Thus, if the decoded information does not match the physical characteristics of the vehicle, it could be a sign of a fake VIN number.
Read also: banana smear and other ways to hide your licence plate
If you suspect a vehicle has a fake VIN or has been involved in VIN cloning or other illegal activities, report it to your local law enforcement agency or the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).