Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Car Fraud

With Watson BurtonIdentity fraud is a hot topic, but not many people consider their car while protecting their personal details. Vehicle identity theft is rising, and can have huge ramifications for car owners.Car ID fraud starts when a thief clones your car number plate. This in itself may not seem like a big issue, but when that person has exactly the same model and make of car as you it becomes problematic. When someone is reported for a driving offence such as dangerous driving for example, the car number plate is checked by the police to identify the owner of the car. When carrying out these checks, the vehicle specification is also shown to the police, meaning that if it matches the description of the vehicle that was involved in the incident, the identity thief has been successful in avoiding all liability for the offence.The AA estimate that 10,000 cars on the road in the UK have cloned number plates. This not only causes problems in identifying the culprits in an accident, it also makes it easier for the thief to get away without paying for road tax, insurance, petrol, congestion charges or road tolls. As the owner of the genuine car, you will be faced with penalty charges and possibly prosecution. In order to buy car registration plates, drivers have to show their licence, V5 registration document and proof of address. However, ‘show’ plates, which are not meant to be used on the road can be bought online without the need to show any proof of identity. It is this type of plate that is often used for the cloned cars.If you suspect that you may have been the victim of car cloning, contact the police immediately. Early signs that something may not be right could come in the form of parking fines for somewhere you have not been. In this case, report your suspicions to the council that issued the fine as well as the police. The DVLA have a dedicated section on their website relating to this problem. Insurance against all kinds of ID theft can also be purchased and would help in a situation where you were experiencing financial difficulties because of the actions of others. Alternatively, if your loss is significant, instruct solicitors to deal with your case.Rachael Douthwaite works in the Commercial Fraud team at Watson Burton LLP. If you have any queries in relation to this article, she can be contacted at rachael.douthwaite@watsonburton.com

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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