Cloned Personalised Number Plates
VICTIMS of crimes involving cloned or fake number plates are in for a lot more pain and suffering than they think.
A cloned number plate is when criminals get a number plate issued using the same type, model and colour car than the true owner, while a fake is simply a copy of the original owner’s number plate, but does not necessarily make use of the same kind of car.
Follow this process
According to an official at the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD), the process a victim of this crime must follow is:
Report the crime at your local police station (SAPS) to open a case;
Take the statement to an EMPD office who will give you a form, then back to the SAPS;
Then you need to go to another SAPS vehicle department in Benoni or Kempton Park (as directed by police);
In case of a cloned number plate, the victim must then de-register the vehicle (number plate) and go through the entire process of re-registering the vehicle to get another for a different number plate.
It is important to note that a minimum of one or two days may be required to get all this done so be prepared to take leave for this period and you will have to carry all financial costs.
Wilfred Kgasago, EMPD spokesperson, gives motorists who receive fines for these vehicles that are not theirs the following advice:
Request a copy of the fine at the metro police offices to view so as to ascertain the time, location and whether the vehicle on the photo is his/hers;
Get a sworn affidavit at the police station that the vehicle on the photo is not his/hers; once satisfied that the information is valid, the metro police fine administration department will annul the fine.
“If the above process is followed, this would greatly assist law enforcers in that they would be aware of the ‘cloned vehicle’ and thus efforts will be made to locate both the cloned vehicle and the person(s) responsible,” said Kgasago.
Do not de-register your vehicle
“We easily receive a minimum of two or three calls a day from people having these issues.
“It is not a good idea to de-register the car and re-register as the criminal will still have that number plate number which is linked to your name so you will still get the fines and you will have wasted a lot of time and money,” said van Niekerk.
“The only time you would de-register a vehicle is when you have sold it. But if the vehicle is de-registered and still not registered in the perpetrator’s name, their fines will still come to you. That is also why it is important to check that the car you have sold is registered in the buyer’s name once sold.
“Another problem is that the police and metro police are not linked and the service provider is in Cape Town. That makes it very difficult since they do not have access to a centralised information system,” she added. “Not JMPD, EMPD, nor Midvaal or any other region’s metro police department have access to the same system. You literally have to go to each area to find out whether you have fines on your name.
“Once AARTO is up and running, the aim is to have everybody linked to the same system,” she said.
How much similar registration plates have sold for recently and in the past: it is always worth looking at what has been going on in the private registration plate market recently to add extra weight to the valuation of your own number plate. It is a market that is not immune from trends, so keep a close eye on what has been selling well and see if your plate has any similar features
The age of the plate: older plates tend to attract higher prices and dateless number plates (the first ones ever issued) normally call for the highest prices on the market
The plate’s rarity: if a lot of similar registration plates were issued, your plate may be less valuable. So, the relative rarity of older, dateless number plates makes them more valuable, as a whole, than newer, dated plates. Similarly, having a private plate with a word or name spelled out on it gives it a degree of rarity that would raise its value.
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