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Why conceal your VIN?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Sandollars, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. Sandollars

    Sandollars I bleed Cardinal

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    Am I missing something here?

    Call me naive, but I can't for the life of me, come up with a single scenario where my car or person could be compromised by revealing my VIN number. If this is not the case why would all auto makers place them clearly under glass where anyone can see?

    When I first ordered my MS I placed my full VIN in my signature for tracking and comparative purpose through the order-to-delivery process . After looking around I discovered pretty quickly that this was not usual and customary so, like a lemming, First Class, I followed suit and began to use xxx for the last 3 digits. Conformity, conformity, conformity.

    Can someone give me a plausible or logical reason why this is a usual and customary practice and why it matters?

    Hello. My name is Steve and my VIN 248441 and I am a recent Tesla addict :)
     
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  2. liuping

    liuping Active Member

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    I heard of a scam where someone files an early false tax return using your VIN. Each VIN can only be used once, so your return would be rejected, then you'd have to fight the IRS to prove it's yours. I'm sure it's super rare, but why risk it.
     
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  3. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

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    The theory is someone can use a real VIN from the convenience of their own home to file for tax credit without visiting a show room.

    Also, for a fee, anyone can track a VIN down for personal information: name, address, phone...

    Most people don't have time for that but some people are not most people and they would have all the time in the world to prove themselves as genuine stalkers.
     
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  4. Sawyer8888

    Sawyer8888 Member

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    #4 Sawyer8888, Mar 19, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    I've wondered the same, but figured it's probably just best to not share this information.

    It's kind of like sharing your license plate or worse, your credit card number. In the wrong hands there could be consequences.

    Our license plates and VINs are out there in the open just about every day. However thieves are opportunists and they are scouring the internet nonstop. Give them more opportunity to access your information and they will take full advantage.

    Filing a tax return using a VIN may come into play somewhere in that process, but that sounds like a stretch to me.

    I'd be more concerned with something along these lines...

    (Although I believe the following would be highly unlikely for a Tesla)

    VIN Cloning: How Thieves Can Steal Your Car's Identity
     
  5. Sandollars

    Sandollars I bleed Cardinal

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    It would be easier just to grab a VIN off the lot just before filing than try and use one that is already registered.

    Also, I could get more information on someone for free that one could get from a VIN number through a Law Enforcement Agency.

    Guaranteed.
     
  6. LCR1

    LCR1 Active Member

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    You can find someones personal info with a quick internet search of their VIN/PLATE not really a concern from members here but search engines are a powerful tool. I posted my Telephone number on a racing forum selling a bike or something and eventually got phone calls asking for (insert my name used in the racing world) totally confused about these obviously spam calls with a name I only used in one circle of people. I went back and edited the post with my number and the spam calls trailed off and eventually stopped.
     
  7. Sandollars

    Sandollars I bleed Cardinal

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    I would be more concerned about Facebook or LinkedIn than my VIN..

    Identity Theft Resource Center
     
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  8. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    In general, it is considered good practice to not post unique identifiers of *any* kind.

    It's not so much the one piece of information that is a problem. It's tying one piece to another piece and so forth. Welcome to the cat and mouse game of bad behavior and forensics.

    Your mileage may vary.
     
  9. Sawyer8888

    Sawyer8888 Member

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    Meanwhile, in Nigeria...

    Computer-Crimes.jpg

    Or maybe it's that little punk who's too young to even drive themselves to a parking lot...

    tenor.gif

    Never underestimate the enemy.
     
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  10. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

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    There were 29 prisoners who didn't get a break to go out to a parking lot to look for VIN so they had to use the old fashion way of internet and got $49,926.
     
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  11. whitex

    whitex Well-Known Member

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    The answer is fairly straightforward - it's personally identifiable information.

    VIN can be traced to a person, so giving it away is akin to giving away your name. If you say you go away on vacation, someone can use that fact in a malicious way (and you own a Tesla, so maybe you have some other nice stuff at home). The other part is what others have said, by providing a complete VIN number, others can claim rebates on the car, can potentially get license plates for the car (which you may not care until those new license plates you never heard of are used in a crime and cops show up at your door). Yes you can collect VIN numbers by just going through a parking lot, but at the lot the car is exposed for few thousand people maybe, while on the internet it's 7 billion - much higher exposure and likelyhood of abuse. The problem is not that someone cannot get your name, your social security numbers, your address, your birthday and your credit report - those can be bought for as little as $30. The point is to not give out personal information which is machine minable (searchable by computers) because then it can be easily collected by someone not even in this country, likely correlated to information from other sites, whether sites you post on or public records, and then abused. So the trick is to have your information harder to come by than most - you know, like running from a bear, you don't need to outrun the bear, just the person next to you. ;) Welcome to the information age! :)

    Oh, then there is the less likely scenario where someone buys your used car, has problems with it, googles the VIN, finds out who you are and tells her dad who happens to be your boss. :p
     
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  12. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    You could easily harvest Tesla VINs via their own website for inventory cars. And most other car dealers have the VINs of their new inventory all online as well.

    So if folks are going to scam EV VINs for tax refunds, they would be skimming Chevy and Nissan dealer websites. And there would be no way to know someone had tried to use the VIN for the credit until after the car was purchased.

    Also if they are stealing VINs to get plates, etc, they can do that from the dealer and Tesla websites as well.


    So I am in the camp that publishing my publicly available VIN isn't really that big of a deal. Thieves and other bad actors have lots and lots of VINs already available to them on the internet.

    Besides, I am proud to have VIN 1986! It is such a low number!
     
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  13. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Except... it's the year of Challenger, Chernobyl, Iran Contra, Lindsay Lohan and 'Rock Me Amadeus'.
     
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  14. jelloslug

    jelloslug Active Member

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    If a person wants to scam the IRS, just make up a VIN. It's easy to fake one.
     
  15. liuping

    liuping Active Member

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    You have to make one up with features that match the and production number, etc, and one that has already sold and registered. But I'm sure some people are trying that too.
     
  16. jelloslug

    jelloslug Active Member

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    There are not that many VIN configurations for Tesla cars (especially the Model 3) so making one up would be simple.
     
  17. whitex

    whitex Well-Known Member

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    IRS is catching on. How long before they start requesting a list of VIN's from the manufacturers to cut down on fraud. At $7,500 a pop, there is room for some budget for that.
     
  18. Krash

    Krash Data Technician

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    One of the biggest reasons not to give out your full VIN specifically, as a Tesla owner, is that you use that information with Tesla to reset a password to remotely unlock and drive your car.
     
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  19. jelloslug

    jelloslug Active Member

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    Frankly, it's a moot point for the most part. By the time something is implemented, the tax credit will have expired for everyone.
     
  20. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    So if someone is standing next to my car, they can use my VIN to call Tesla, pretend to be me, reset my password, hop in and drive off? Yikes. I would hope Tesla needs other identifying info than just a VIN.
     
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