Jump to content

What are the risks of a vehicle being cloned?


Recommended Posts

Prompted by a recent thread (elsewhere) regarding private registrations and comments regarding possible cloning of them, I wondered if anyone actually knows what the possible consequences are for someone who becomes a victim of this.


Often photographs are displayed on the internet of owners' vehicles and some go to lengths to obscure the number plates, presumably to minimise the risk of being cloned? Surely if someone wishes to clone a registration they can spot a suitable vehicle in the street anyway.


I can imagine that the proper owner of a vehicle may receive speeding/parking fines relating to a cloned vehicle but I also imagine that the proper owner may well be able to prove they were elsewhere at the time of the offence(s).


So what are the real dangers to the vehicle owner?






Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a couple of variations here. The first being that your registration is cloned and used on another car (any make) to perform an illegal act, obtaining fuel then driving off without paying to more serious offences. When the police get the report they will automatically do a PNC on the registration. If the registration and the vehicle details do not match up with the DVLA records they obviously know what has happened. They will often advise you of the fact that your vehicle registration has been cloned, however, they make a note of it and so you will not be inundated with fines etc.


The second variation is the more alarming and troublesome. This is where the 'criminals' (because that is what they are) steal a vehicle and then find another similar vehicle (make, model, colour) and have a set of registration plates made with the legitimate registration number. They will then use the vehicle to commit the offences and when the Police do the PNC it will reflect the legitimate owners details. That is when you will get the knock on the door or the fines notifications through your letter box. You then have to prove that it was not your vehicle, quite easy to do in reality but a lot of inconvenience and stress. Once you have proven that your vehicle registration has been cloned then the police will make a note of the fact and you should not then get repeated knocks on the door or fines through the post.


So what can you do to protect yourself, unfortunately very little. You may lock your vehicle in a garage when it is not being used, do not advertise your full registration if you are selling privately through newspapers or trade magazines and if suppling a photograph then blank out the registration number. However, the criminals will usually target the vehicle they want to use (steal) and at the same time will keep on the lookout for a similar make, model and colour of vehicle so that they can copy the registration details (they will often drive by vehicle sales forecourts and take numbers off trade-in vehicles that have not as yet been re-sold) so ensure that you have completed all the vehicle registration paperwork when trading in.


There are millions of vehicles on the road in this country, the chance that it will be your vehicle registration that is cloned is low, however, that does not mean that it couldn't happen ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hi neil


this has happened to us twice !!

the first time

in 2007 we were away on a 3mth winter trip (jan-march ) and upon our return found several official letters demanding payment of a speeding fine in january in london

obviously as they had had no reply/payment the charge had increased quite considerably and we were being threatened with legal action !!

we had a right rigmarole to sort it out

they had sent a photo..it was a small blue audi..but with our no plate

we contacted them to say it wasn't us.... sent photo of van parked outside the gateway of campsite in spain showing the sign clearly ...on date of offence.........( the digi camera had dated the photo )

and fortunately we had kept the tunnel crossing booking form..so sent that as well

and heard no more about it


later the same year i had been working away for 4 weeks and had left the m/home parked on the drive

we got a demand for a parking fine in scotland

i contacted them and again had to provide a photo of the m/home showing the no plate....also a copy of the tax disc & v5

i had petrol / hotel receipts which proved that i was not in scotland at the time of the offence

but it's worrying wondering who is using your no plate





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our motorhome number plate was cloned and used on another (stolen) vehicle. You may think well that's not a problem but when you realise that your vehicle may be impounded until it is sorted out, in our case around five worrying weeks, it could really spoil your holidays.

I won't go through the whole tale again as it is on another thread on here if you are interested, but the purchaser of the 'ficticious' vehicle another motorhome, ended up £26000 out of pocket last time I heard so not funny at all.

It is also, surprisingly, not as uncommon as you might think at the time ours occurred there were around 150 motorhomes being investigated all apparently from the same gang. I know how the scam worked and it is surprisingly easy (not going to relate it on here as it is so easy your less than clever criminal can do it with ease).



Link to comment
Share on other sites



Stick GB plate or something on the back of your car, take a picture, and post it to a group.


If a car similar to yours, and with the same number is zapped, you then have evidence that it wasn't yours.


A couple of years ago, a gang was taking details of vehicles at auctions, then stealing a car to match. The proper previous owner would be notified by DVLA that somebody was applying for a replacement V5 for his car. POs reaction was that the new keeper must be very careless to lose his V5 that quickly, and took no further action.


My mate had a knock at his door. Police accusing him of driving off without paying for petrol. So he showed then the car ...... no wheels nor engine. No number plates either. But same make, model and colour.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cloning of Number Plates is more common than most think. The police informed us that it is most common with cars and vans and used more for avoiding speeding and parking fines than cloning stolen vehicles.


The most common method of cloning stolen vehicles is to use the Reg. and Vin plates from crashed vehicles. That is why the police often check that repaired vehicles are in fact the original vehicle and showing signs of the repairs.


We have had three incidents of our vehicle registrations being cloned.


The number plates were stolen off our Ford Sierra parked at a station in Hertfordshire and used on an identical vehicle used to commit a crime in Leicestershire. Fortunately the police were aware of the thefts and we had no problems except that we were not allowed to move the car until we had sourced and fitted new Reg Plates.


We were reported for a hit and run in Coventry with the same car at a time when it was parked in the company car park in High Wycombe. The police came to the car park and confirmed it as being there.


Our Reg Plates on a VW Passat Estate were cloned and used on a VW Golf Estate that was running up parking and speeding fines over a three week period. We had to send photos of our car to prove it was not our vehicle.


We have been fortunate in being able to prove that in all three cases it was not our vehicle. This may not always be the case especially if the thief has photographed your car and made his look identical.





Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...