When you work at a garage, like we do, you get to hear all sorts of things. One of the latest scams involves the cloning of number plates and receiving unsolicited penalty charge notices. It’s one thing disputing a PCN if you happen to be driving but what happens if it wasn’t you?

What is number plate cloning?
When you buy a new number plate, the manufacturer should ask the purchaser for proof of their name, address and their right to use the vehicle registration number. Without these checks, number plates can be produced for the identity of someone else’s car, something which the buyer has no right to use. Illegal suppliers provide these number plates to criminals, ignoring the verification process and bypassing quality standards.

Why would someone steal my number plates?
Cloned plates are used on stolen vehicles, criminal activity such as fuel theft and use as getaway vehicles. It is also used by those who don’t care about racking up speeding tickets, parking fines and who don’t want to pay their own toll and congestion charge bills.

cloned number platesWhat to do if my number plate is cloned?
Whilst you are dealing with the legalities, the quickest way to stop any more fines is to purchase a new custom number plate.

Don’t pay the fine but dispute it and start gathering evidence to prove it wasn’t your vehicle that caused the traffic offence. If you know your vehicle was elsewhere, you can request CCTV footage as proof. If you can’t get CCTV footage then perhaps you have witnesses who were with you at the time your vehicle carried out these alleged offences? Make sure that you get witness statements in writing and signed. You can even use GPS data stored with the vehicle to prove where it was (although some manufacturers may only pass this info on if the vehicle is reported stolen). However your smart phone also GPS on it, some GPS apps have a location history which can be used as evidence. Finally if your vehicle has a Find It Stop It GPS tracking device then this has a history function, showing recorded journeys.

Take a photograph of the rear of your vehicle to show it wasn’t your car. Hopefully they can see the small differences.

Most importantly contact a) DVLA – get it on record that your plates have been cloned and b) the Police – they will help track down the criminals. Make sure you get your crime number.

Never post a picture of your car and number plate on the internet or social media sites – if these criminals can see the colour, make of vehicle and number plate then they can use these for their next clone.

Do you have a damaged number plate? Always purchase a replacement from a reputable dealer (they will ask for proof of ownership and identity).

Volante/MEB the Motor Centre are a garage in Edmonton, North London servicing all makes of car and van. Book in for a service today 020 8807 0668.

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