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Riders warned on number plate scam

Benzina number anti-theft plate holder plate scam cloning

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.Fixed speed camera Victoria - fines suspended virus plate scam

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.

Western Australia police say they are not aware of this specific scam being used. “Although false and stolen plates are used during offences,” they say.

South Australia Police say it has not affected motorists in their state. 

Unpaid tolls

The scammers have also been using tollways with the video recognition fee going to the registered owners of the plate.

Kingaroy rider Paulette Devlin 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.

plate scam
Tollway photo of Paulette’s plate on another bike

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.

plate scam
Second tollway photo (they take two photos, one from in front and one behind)

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:

Do not simply fail to pay the fee as the charges will rise even more.

  1. After reading this article I checked my statement from the toll operator and found 5 unknown trips against one of the registered number plates on my account. I have contacted the operator and they are now investigating. Thanks for publishing the article, I would probably never have bothered to check otherwise.

  2. I was sent a bill for using the Lane Cove Tunnel in Sydney, I live 200 + km’s away from there and was in Albury on the day I was supposed to in the tunnel! Sent to Toll Company a letter and heard no more of it.

  3. I received a bill for unpaid use in the Nundah Tunnel. My plate has not been on a bike since I deregistered it 18 months back. The Phone Operator at LinkT bought up the digital picture and confirmed it was not my personalised number.
    She also said the camera’s have trouble with a particular letter (didn’t say which) with gets recorded incorrectly as the letter M. She was able to verify that bikes plate was not mine, so cancelled the fee on me, and resent the bill to the Rider, who was probably thinking the ride that day was a freebe.

  4. I have a number plate that has been the subject of several false alarms. After about the fifth error, I had a chat with a friendly toll officer, who saw the problem (incorrect camera reading) and agreed to put my number on a list that has to be checked by a human before the ticket goes our. I have not had a ticket since.

    The main thing is not go in with guns blazing right off.

    1. Hi Peter, yeah that’s what they did with me but unfortunately it still happens and gets a little frustrating when you have to use your own time to sort it out or else they will come after you if you just let it go and do nothing.
      At the moment i have been setup so i can email them direct quoting my infringement number and they will investigate it. So yes at least they are helping.

      1. Can’t you go to Rego people and get new numberplate for free given ongoing issue? Have you tried that?

  5. I’ve received over a dozen toll invoices for my scooter going through the Domain and Burnley tunnels and every time i question it they read out a different rego number and not mine. It seems computers cannot distinguish between certain letters.
    There is no way i would ride my scooter on the freeway. It’s just not made for it nor can it reach the speeds.
    Although i get the invoices cancelled it’s just a pain having to call or email CityLink every time.
    I’m sick of it.

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