Calculating crooks are putting motorists on the road to despair after more than 12,000 Brits had their registration plates cloned over the past 18 months.
New data from the DVLA has revealed the staggering number of drivers reporting that they have received fines, penalties or letters for misdemeanours involving vehicles that were displaying their reg – but that they didn’t recognise!
The stats, obtained by Platehunter.com via the Freedom of Information Act, revealed there were 12,300 such incidents from January 2021 up to September 2022.
And a deep dive of the numbers highlighted it isn’t a new trend, with 4,021 complaints in 2018, 9,384 in 2019 and even 7,400 during the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020.
Jon Kirkbright, sales director at Platehunter.com, said, “People come to us because they’ve had the police on their doorstep asking why they made off from a garage without paying. Others have had speeding fines in London when they’ve never been there – all because someone has cloned their plate and used it to commit crimes.
“The data we’ve seen indicates that vehicle cloning is a growing problem that causes major annoyance for innocent motorists. Sometimes it can be months before someone realises their plate has been cloned, by which time they’ve stacked up several penalties in different authorities.
“Getting a letter about speeding is bad enough but when you discover it wasn’t you behind the wheel and you’ve become embroiled in something that has nothing to do with you, it’s even worse. It also makes you question the security of your personal data – from email password to bank accounts.
“To see 12,000 people have been stung in this way over the past 18 months is truly shocking.”
Cases of cloned number plates have risen because of an increase in the number of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
Criminals tend to pick a clean vehicle – one with no prior speeding tickets or fines – to replicate on their car. They can also copy the number plate of a similar make, model and colour to make it difficult for police to catch them.
Police are now advising that the quickest course of action to resolve a cloned plate is to inform the DVLA and change the registration plate immediately.
Jon added that using his service, motorists can easily have a new registration plate transferred to them.
He added, “We’ve seen a 300% increase in the purchase of replacement car registration plates in the last 12 months. Buying a cheap number plate from platehunter.com will resolve all problems that come with having a number plate cloned.
“Best of all, it can be done the same day resulting in no further issues.”
Under the right to reply, DVLA advise that any motorist who believes their vehicle has been cloned should contact the police. They should also contact the issuing authority of any fines or penalties they receive with appropriate evidence that shows their vehicle was not in the area at the time.