Number plate theft and cloning of plates is on the rise, resulting in riders receiving speeding and parking fines and unpaid toll notices.
The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council says number plate theft can also be used to commit crimes such as petrol theft, robberies, house break-ins and drug trafficking.
Police are also reporting an increased detection of cloned plates with offenders using vehicle sales websites to find a vehicle matching their bike or a stolen vehicle.
Offenders are even cloning the number plates on laminated paper.
Cloning plate scam not new
Police and transport departments in several states say the cloning plate scam is not new, but are unable to supply statistics for speeding fines waived or offenders who can be charged with both criminal and traffic offences.
Police say motorists wrongly fined would need to provide photographic evidence to prove the vehicle in the speeding offence photo was not theirs.
It is recommended that private sellers blur their number plates when they advertise their vehicle online.
In Victoria, Victoria Police, VicRoads, Department of Justice and Regulation, Fines Victoria, the Crime Statistics Agency and the NMVTRC are investigating the misuse and theft of number plates.
The NMVTRC says about a third of all stolen plates are taken from vehicles parked on the street and 10% were from vehicles parked in a car park.
About 85% are stolen from metropolitan areas.
The scammers have also been using tollways with the video recognition fee going to the registered owners of the plate.
Last year we reported on Kingaroy rider Paulette Devlin who copped a $10.78 fee for an unpaid $2.28 motorway toll when her Kawasaki Ninja 250 was parked in her garage more than 200km away.
She bought the Ninja in July 2017 through Gumtree.
We contacted Queensland tollway company Linkt who confirmed they had waived Paulette’s toll.
Linkt is owned by Transurban which also owns CityLink in Melbourne and six tollways in Sydney.
In fact, they also waived a second unpaid toll after they found the same number plate had been used on a different bike.
They confirmed that “some people who complain regarding this are being investigated”.
Linkt would not reveal how many are being investigated.
Motorcycle riders are particularly vulnerable to this plate scam where tollways use video pate recognition for motorcycles instead of a transponder.
Riders should check their next toll statement to ensure that all toll fees are legitimate.
If you find an incorrect charge, email the Transurban customer resolution team at: [email protected]
Do not simply fail to pay the fee as the charges will rise even more.