A new study estimates that 1 in 12 road vehicles in the UK have cloned number plates.
If you’re in the business of showing vehicles and their number plates for various reasons including event advertising or simply looking to hide the identity of your number plates… then stick with us, you’ll want to know more.
Cloning is the infamous process where a criminal intentionally swaps your number plate details - on to another vehicle, to disguise their vehicle from police CCTV and ANPR cameras.
It’s the dirtiest trick in the vehicular criminal’s handbook and one that any UK driver including you can fall victim to at any point.
Whether you have a road legal number plate, or a show plate (for off-road use) – criminals will dive to the lowest depths to ensure your number plate is used to pursue criminal activity, no matter the consequences.
It’s safe to say, the business of number plate cloning isn’t going to stop anytime soon. In fact, since the adoption of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) by law enforcement in the UK, “criminals are now more determined than ever to outwit the automated system”, warns the UK’s leading history check experts - HPI.
So here’s TWO things you can do to prevent cloning:
Don’t upload photos of your car with your number plates online, AND
Consider purchasing a Show Plate to disguise your vehicle’s real number plate.
Firstly, don’t upload a photo of your car on the internet with its number plate details intact. Whether you’re selling your car on eBay, Auto Trader or Gumtree – only upload photos with your vehicle’s number plate either crossed or blurred out.
You can do this by simply using photo editing apps on your phone, or on your computer. Microsoft Paint will suffice.
If you’re showing your vehicle to a friend and use photo-sharing websites online, the same applies, cross or blur the number plate to avoid prying eyes from snatching your plate details.
Secondly, have you considered investing in a show plate?
Not only are they effective at preventing criminals learning your vehicle's real number plate details, but if your vehicles’ are off the road most of the time – they’re invaluable. And they're perfect if you’re looking to advertise a business, or just to look fancy – they’re great for masking your vehicle's true identity.
Important: It’s imperative to know criminals prefer vehicles with road legal number plates; fully up to date MOT, insurance, and road tax. And if you have a show plate on your vehicle, there’s very little criminals can do with your fancier plate.
One innocent victim who endured the consequences of criminal activity involving number plate cloning was Keren David.
Keren had found a surge of men and women in Police uniforms storm the front door of her home in London with guns, accusing her of being instrumental in her role in an armed robbery minutes before.
It was only until Police found her vehicle's engine to be ice-cold, was she then relieved of all charges.
According to Dr. Ken German (of International Association of Auto Theft Investigators), “the Police rely heavily on ANPR cameras and have little time to investigate…”
For this reason, criminals look forward to doctoring legal number plates - to then use them in criminal activities involving the stealing of high-priced fuel, speeding freely, parking illegally and driving illegitimately amongst other miscellaneous uses.
Quick question: Did you ever wonder why number plates were blurred out on the internet?
Making it difficult for criminals to identify your vehicle's real number plate details is easy. With a show plate, you can do just that, and personalise it as you want.
Have vehicles’ on the drive that aren’t going to be driven for a long time?
Muster in car culture and visit car events regularly?
A show plate lets your vehicle stand out and make its mark. Seen at car events, car showrooms, weddings, and even around business premises – show plates can be displayed anywhere at your choosing, and don’t have to be limited to your vehicles’ only.
The reason for the purchase of the show plate was to allow us to take pictures of the work we had completed for our clients; whilst also protecting their identity as a number of clients were not keen on their number plate being displayed on the internet.
This plate has helped remarkably and also added, even more, professionalism to our service.
Thank you as the work was fantastic and will possibly be ordering more so we can put them on both of our cars at car shows for advertisement purposes. ~ RG VALET
So why not begin expressing your creative side, and start disguising your real number plate with your own custom show plate?