Police confirm that a number plate scam has landed some motorists with fines for speeding offences they did commit and unpaid toll notices they did not accrue.
They believe the offenders are using vehicle sales websites to find a vehicle matching the model of their owned or stolen vehicle.
Offenders then create a duplicate number plate on laminated paper and place it on their vehicle.
This plate scam has been around for a while but surfaced again recently in Brisbane when Moreton South Patrol Group received enquiries from motorists who received Traffic Infringement Notices in the mail for speeding offences.
Queensland Police say the motorists denied the speeding fine allegations and provided photographic evidence to prove the vehicle in the speeding offence photo was not theirs, even though it had their number plate.
“Further enquiries have revealed that many of these vehicles have been advertised on commercial car sale websites, exposing their registration details,” they say.
Recently police have also charged offenders with possessing false number plates that share the same number to similar vehicles owned by other people.
However, they have not said how many offenders have been apprehended nor how many speeding fines have been waived.
Plate scam not new
Police and transport departments in NSW and Victoria states the 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.
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 National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council are investigating the misuse and theft of number plates.
“If an individual suspects number plate misuse of any kind, they should immediately contact police,” VicRoads suggests.
South Australia Police say it has not affected motorists in their state. Tasmania and WA authorities did not reply to our inquiries.
The scammers have also been using tollways with the video recognition fee going to the registered owners of the plate.
Kingaroy rider Paulette Devine 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.
(Click here to find why tunnels are the top traps for speeding fines.)
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.