While owning a private number plate is a popular option for many motorists, there are some potential problems associated with all car registrations which you should be aware of.
One of the biggest threats facing car owners at the moment comes in the form of a cloning scam which sees genuine plates copied by crooks in order to mask the identity of the vehicles they are using.
To raise awareness about this issue and hopefully save you some anguish, here are the facts you need to know and the strategies for avoiding this scam which could cost you thousands.
Rise of the Scammers
In 2018 figures from the DVLA showed that number plate cloning was on the rise, with almost 5000 vehicles implicated in this underhanded activity. Indeed an investigation by the regulator found that getting plates cloned was straightforward, with some businesses willing to pump out copies of plates, no questions asked.
It is possible to buy legitimately. See “Absolute Reg – private number plates and personalised registrations” which is a reputable site and makes this simple. But less scrupulous operators that copy existing registrations are increasingly common, which puts innocent people at risk of falling foul of law enforcement.
The way the scam works is that once the plates have been copied and applied to a different vehicle, criminals will then be able to breach the rules of the road with impunity, since the genuine owner of the plate will end up receiving the fines and other penalties.
These repercussions are made even more problematic because it is tough to trace the cars which have been using cloned plates and also difficult for owners to prove that they were not responsible for the offence in question.
As well as being hit by fines that they do not deserve, motorists might also face steeper insurance costs, points on their license and other unwanted issues if their plates are cloned.
Additional Considerations & Precautions To Take
Cloning the number plate of a car is also a technique used by fraudsters who want to hide the true identity of vehicles they want to sell. This means car buyers might check up on a vehicle’s registration and think that it has a clean history, only to find out further down the line that this is not the case.
Whether a vehicle has been used in a crime or stolen, plate cloning can be an effective disguise that once again results in the creation of more victims.
Ultimately the key to combating this is to be vigilant, make sure that you always stay on the lookout for any unexpected communications from the DVLA, or fines from any other organisation which you do not believe are correctly deserved.
The good news is that the authorities are taking action to clamp down on car number plate cloning scams, deploying a range of tactics to make it harder for copies to be produced and prosecuting those that are caught with fake plates.