Number Plate Scam

Avoid number plate scams & cloning

Personalised Number Plate Scam

DVLA warns motorists to be aware of scams

DVLA has revealed a 20% rise in scams reported to their contact centre, with 1,538 reports about suspected vehicle tax scams during the last 3 months of 2019.

The DVLA has released images of some of the ruses used by con artists to dupe motorists into handing over their cash.

It comes as new figures show a 20% increase in scams reported to the DVLA in the last three months of 2019, with 1,538 reports filed.

There were 1,275 reports of suspected web, email, text, or social media scams this year, up from 1,275 in 2018. The DVLA has released images of recent scams to help motorists recognise what to look out for and to issue a strong warning that if something offered online or via text message appears to be too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

View full DVLA Post

Red Wet Sports Car

Number plate boss faces tax knockout

TONY HETHERINGTON: Number plate boss faces tax knockout

"I am writing about your article in January regarding Registrations 4 Vehicles Ltd.

I too have been subject to this company’s sharp practice. In June last year I enquired about a personal licence plate and was told it was for sale.

I paid £862 for it as a gift for my wife. This was hard-earned money, paid in good faith from my savings.
Since then, after more than 30 phone calls, false promises from the company and no replies to letters, I have got nothing except the loss of my money.

Why is this company allowed to carry on trading? T.C."

Why indeed? Registrations 4 Vehicles has ripped off a growing number of clients, apparently with impunity.

It claims to be a multi-million-pound business and a major dealer in personal licence plates, but it simply swerves around the law whenever its boss Rakesh Verma fancies.

In January, Financial Mail revealed how customers had won court orders to get their money back, but had not been paid.
Since then one customer has said how he hired bailiffs to seize the company’s assets, only to have the bailiffs report that because Registrations 4 Vehicles hides behind a post office box number in Leicester, it had been impossible to find any assets.
Companies House records have also been no help in painting a picture of the business’s finances. The last accounts Verma filed cover the year to March 2009. He failed to file accounts for 2010 and 2011. This is an offence and Companies House has begun enforcement action.

Trading Standards officials are also on Verma’s trail. After investigating complaints, including some passed on by police, they are now threatening legal action to protect consumers.

Meanwhile, the list of victims grows. One of the latest is the boxing promoter Frank Warren, who paid thousands of pounds for a licence plate that Verma failed to deliver.

His solicitor, Stephen Taylor Heath of Leeds firm Eatons, told me: ‘It was what seems to be the usual scenario – an application was made for a licence plate, payment was made and then came a series of excuses as to why the registration could not be supplied.’

Warren has sued Registrations 4 Vehicles and won. But when his lawyer contacted me there was no sign of the £6,122 Verma’s company owed him. Another customer, Mr H from Southampton, paid £10,105, but got no number plate and no refund. He sued and won an order for his money plus £3,000 in legal costs.

Eventually Verma handed over the £10,105, but not the costs. It now looks as though the knockout blow that brings the company down may not come from any customer. The taxman is threatening to wind up Registrations 4 Vehicles for non-payment of tax. The High Court case was adjourned two weeks ago, apparently to give Verma a last chance to cough up the cash.

I hope he does. You see, Registrations 4 Vehicles is trying to sue me and the owner of The Mail on Sunday, claiming that a warning we published in May last year caused it to lose business.

The case is due in court at the end of May and I want Verma to be there, to explain why he feels entitled to sue us yet ignore court orders won against him by his own customers.

Verma was invited to comment but all that arrived was a letter from his legal adviser, someone called N. Ramkissoon, who said I was ‘wasting our time with pointless correspondence’.

I hope to see you in court too, Mr Ramkissoon.

Audi Car Blue

How to avoid number plate scams

Number plate scams are on the rise, with cases ranging from a woman who was left stunned in a car park after walking towards her car only to discover an identical car with an identical registration next to it, to a Staffordshire resident whose car was allegedly clocked speeding in London while they were asleep 200 miles north.

The facts and figures

In fact, according to research published last spring, one in every twelve of the 37 million vehicles on our roads in the UK is estimated to have cloned licence plates or plates that have been doctored in some way for unscrupulous purposes, such as driving off without paying for gas – or, in extreme cases, armed robbery.

Unfortunately, for determined criminals, cloning licence plates is relatively simple. This is due in part to the growing number of online individuals and businesses willing to issue registration plates without first seeing the V5C vehicle registration certificate, which is usually required.

Purchasing a used vehicle

Dr. Ken German of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI), who conducted the study, advised car buyers to be as thorough as possible before agreeing to buy a vehicle, especially if it is being sold privately rather than by a business trader, in the Telegraph. “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” says Dr. German, who advises people to avoid anyone selling a car for an unusually low price for its specifications, who only accepts cash payments, and who appears to be in a hurry to sell.

Checking the car's history

People buying used cars should pay for a car history or ‘HPI' check, which will search official DVLA, police, and other databases to display a vehicle's recorded details, according to trusted motoring advice sources like Honest John. Depending on the level of check paid for, this can include the colour, date of first registration, and engine size, as well as the number of previous owners and other information.

The information obtained from a reputable website's official online HPI car history check should match the information on the vehicle, such as the VIN numbers found on the windscreen and by one of the front doors, and the registration plate. It should also match the V5 registration document, which prospective car buyers should always inspect before signing a contract.

What should you do if your licence plate has been cloned?

If you discover your car's number plate has been cloned in a scam, the police advise you to promptly return any speeding or parking fines, as well as any documentary evidence proving it wasn't your genuine vehicle, to whoever issued them. Sending everything by recorded, signed-for mail is a good idea.

Number plate scam victims should also write or fax the DVLA, who will add a note to your vehicle's file to document that it has been cloned. The police will also do everything possible to locate the cloned vehicle as well as the person(s) responsible for this criminal activity. Contact the police in person at your local station or call 101 for non-emergency assistance. Dial 999 if you become aware of a crime in progress involving your vehicle.

Anyone who reports their number plates as stolen will usually find a mark against their vehicle's registration in the police national computer (PNC). This means that the police will be notified every time your plates are detected by a static or mobile automatic number plate recognition camera (ANPR), which will almost certainly result in the police stopping the car. Remember that almost all number plate fraud is indiscriminate, so if it happens to you, know that it's unlikely to be personal.

Number plate scams: how to avoid or deal with them

To avoid having your car's number plates physically removed and stolen, which is another tactic used by some criminals, you can get anti-theft screws for free from your local police station, so it's worth checking with them. Anti-theft registration plates, which shatter if anyone tries to remove them, are also available, though they are usually quite expensive. Furthermore, purchasing a dash-cam will make it far easier to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your vehicle was not driven by you.

Despite the fact that number plate scams such as cloning are on the rise, it is clear that motorists can take steps to reduce their chances of becoming a victim. Furthermore, as public awareness of this type of crime grows, organisations such as the police and the DVLA are better able to deal with cases sympathetically.

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Beef Registrations, was established in 1990 and has been selling cherished plates for over 30 years. Since then the company has grown from strength to strength, and thanks to the enthusiasm of the British public, Beef Registrations Plates have become a brand leader within the personalised plates industry.

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Watling Farmhouse
Watling Street
LE10 3AR

T: 01455 882885
F: 01455 221174
M: 07836 798888

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