Tampering With A Vehicle Identification Number

It's often asked if tampering with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is illegal. I'll let you be the judge. The links provided below are intended for your reading pleasure and information. Where you go with it and what you do with it is entirely up to you. One important thing to note in the 1300 series links below is they come from the U.S. Department of Justice, a federal agency, and do not limit VIN tampering to the VIN plate itself but rather includes any component that has a VIN stamped on it.

Special Rosette Rivets
At least in the state of Michigan, it is also a criminal offense to possess/sell/give away/etc. the special rosette rivets used and sooner or later people do get caught. As documentation comes to light in regards to other states, if any, links will be provided.

VIN rivet selling

If you are inclined, as I am, to report suspicious VIN activities you can report it to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (as noted in the article above) by contacting them.

Links and brief synopsis:

Crimes and Criminal Procedure - 18 USC Section 511
Sec. 511. Altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers

BOSS 302 Registry
Numerous examples of both federal and state prosecutions of VIN cases.

1365 Forfeiture of Certain Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Parts
18 U.S.C. 512 provides that, with certain exceptions, a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part that has a falsified or removed identification number is subject to seizure and forfeiture.

1366 Trafficking in Certain Motor Vehicles or Motor Vehicle Parts
Section 2321 of Title 18 makes it an offense to deal in motor vehicles or motor vehicle components knowing that the identification numbers have been falsified or removed.

1374 Effective Date - Motor Vehicle Identification Numbers
Accordingly, after October 25, 1984, the falsification or removal of any VIN required by the DOT on a motor vehicle is a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 511. Motor vehicles which have had their DOT required VINs falsified or removed after October 24, 1984, are subject to seizure and forfeiture under 18 U.S.C. 512. Persons trafficking in motor vehicles with DOT required VINs that have been falsified or removed after October 24, 1984, are subject to prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 2321. See 130 Cong. Rec. S13584 (daily ed. October 4, 1984). See also H.R. Rep. No. 1456 on H.R. 4178, 96th Congress, 2d Sess. 25-26 (1980); 125 Cong. Rec. 12244 (1979).