How to Find OSINT Data on License Plate Numbers?

Published by Abhishek Upadhayay on

osint

While conducting an OSINT investigation, it’s important to be able to pull in information based on any clue you uncover. In particular, license plate information can turn up everywhere, from photos to live data to on your own street. You could use that data to find the VIN, see if a Tinder date has hit anyone. Find out who’s blocking your driveway, and so on. Skiptracer can help get the ball rolling.

You’ll need to have Python 2 installed and updated on your system to get started. The developer of Skiptracer, xillwillx, is in the process of updating the tool to Python 3 since Python 2 is no longer supported. But it’s not entirely done yet, so Python 2 is what we’ll need for now. To see if you have Python 2 installed, use:

Python 2.7.18 is the latest version, so you’re good if that’s what comes up. If you don’t have it yet, install or update it using:

Now, once you have the U.S. license plate number and state of the vehicle you want to conduct an OSINT investigation on, you could start plugging the data into websites online. Still, most of them will try and charge you hefty fees to access any information. That’s why Skiptracer is an excellent tool to use, as it queries a bunch of APIs to see if it can find free information from the best sources that are available.

Now, to get started with Skiptracer, after knowing you already have Python 2 installed and up to date, you’ll need to download the tool from xillwillx’s GitHub. It’s pretty easy to install since you just need to clone the repository with:


To see what’s inside the repository downloaded, you can cd into skiptracer, then ls to list its files.

If you’ve ever installed a Python program before, it may be fairly obvious what needs to happen next. For those of you who haven’t or don’t know, you’ll need to install the requirements.text file, which is a list of all the different modules Skiptracer needs to work. Use the pip install -r command to install it.

Then, we’ll run the actual skiptracer.py file. When we run it, we should see an awesome banner and a list of different things we can do.

The most obvious choice here is “plate.” A lot of the other options you see are in other tools, such as Sherlock (“ScreenName”), but we’re just focusing on the plate search. Go ahead and select number 5 to do so.

Now, let’s select number 2 for “Plate Search.” After doing so, it will ask you for the plate number, so enter that in at this time.

After entering that, it’ll ask you for the U.S. license plate’s state abbreviation.

If everything went well, you should see results. If you get the “No results” warning as I did, press Enter to continue, then select number 1 for “All”. It’s for all modules associated to the email module group. It doesn’t make sense, I know, but it works. Then, reenter the state ID.

From that, we were able to extract some information about the vehicle. We started with just the plate number, but now we have the automobile’s VIN, which we can use to pull up all sorts of other information. If you’re an OSINT investigator, you know that the more clues you can get about a specific target. The easier it is to plug it into other sources and learn a little bit more, bit by bit.

If you are looking for other information, other useful modules included in Skiptracer. For example, if you have a specific screen name you’re looking for, it’s easy to use the ScreenName module and run it against “All”. It’ll do the work for you, looking for accounts online that use that screen name. So if you need to do a quick profile on someone, or if you have a U.S. license plate to scan, either one of these modules will work just fine.

Skiptracer isn’t a complete solution for an OSINT investigation. But it’s a great way to start pulling clues together quickly, provided you have Python 2 installed on your system. If you need further help with Skiptracer, hit up the comments below or ask on Twitter @BrighterBees.

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