OPINION: Crims ripped me off, racked up toll fines
IT WAS a mixture of shock and amusement that washed over me last week after a letter arrived from the toll manager Linkt.
Shock because I was being told to pay for a toll I wouldn’t have normally used on the Logan motorway, and amusement because the letter claimed my Yamaha motorcycle used the toll – despite currently having no battery and missing a chain as it was enjoying some much needed maintenance.
A quick call to Linkt and a visit to the police station and the problem was discovered – my plates had been cloned.
The amusement of the fact the thief had put number plates for a white touring bike on a red sports bike quickly faded when I realised just how lucky I had been.
I’d caught it while the offender had only racked up a few toll fees on my plates - other plate theft victims aren’t so lucky.
Indeed, the helpful officer at my local station’s own daughter had suffered a similar cloning issue – with the perpetrators racking up well over two thousand dollars in fines and toll evasion fees before the plate theft was discovered.
What made her case even more difficult was the fraudsters had chosen her car down to the make, model and colour of the stolen car they were using.
Thieves are also turning to online sources to find their targets, using sites like gum tree and car sales to find potential targets for plates.
I believe this is likely where my own bike’s plates were found.
But while the means to find the plates is becoming more high tech – the actual fake plates themselves aren’t.
The police officer looking after my case said the plates were often taken to with tape and paint to create the desired numbers and letters.
Enough to fool a camera, but easily spotted by eagle eye pedestrians and motorists.
So keep an eye out for plates that look a little dodgy, and if in doubt – report it to PoliceLink on 131 444.
You never know, you might be saving someone from a big legal headache.