Number plate fraud happens when a fraudster/s use your car registration and/or driving licence details to claim you are responsible for speeding and/or other driving offences which you have actually played no part in.
It has been in the news in France after two people were given prison sentences for stealing a man’s identity to avoid paying driving fines. The victim is disabled and uses an electric wheelchair for mobility and does not have a car.
If you start receiving fines in your name for parking or speeding infractions you know you have not committed, you may be a victim of stolen identity or number plate fraud. We explain what to do:
You may as a first task lodge a formal complaint with the police or gendarmerie and keep a copy of this complaint
Report the fraud on the Police Nationale website, Info Escroqueries.
Their telephone line: 08 05 80 58 17 is open Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 18:00.
You can also report any illegal behaviour to the PHAROS platform.
The France Victimes association can help you to make a complaint and to follow up the process. You can call them on 116 006 for free and their help is also free of charge.
Identity theft is punishable by up to a year in jail and up to €15,000 in fines. Fraud can be punished by up to five years in jail and €375,000 in fines.
Disabled man fined for driving offences…despite not having a car
The advice comes after a disabled man living in Lavérune, near Montpellier (Hérault) reported receiving more than a dozen fines for driving contraventions in his name. This is despite him not owning a car or driving.
The man, named Thierry, who began receiving the fines in 2020, has a neurodegenerative illness. He uses an electric wheelchair to move around. He is legally permitted to drive but does not own a car.
Yet, the fines were in his name and attributed to a car that was legally registered as belonging to him.
After two months of worry, he was encouraged by carers to report the issue after they suspected fraud and identity theft.
Police followed the trail to two suspects, one of whom was already known to them.
The perpetrators were a woman in her 40s, who once worked as an at-home carer for Thierry and a man who was her then-partner.
The man is accused of racking up the fines on the car concerned. When questioned, he admitted to having bought the car with Thierry’s driving licence, which he said his then-partner had given to him to use although she denied this.
The court judged the two in absentia and condemned them to 12 months of prison each with a cease and desist order.
The man, named as Mr Bensabeur, who is from Algeria, was also issued with a OQTF (obligation de quitter le territoire français) order to leave France. The woman, Mrs Bouremel, was also banned from practising as an at-home carer for life.
The victim received €4,500 in compensation and to pay legal fees.
His lawyer, Cloé Perrot, said: “This brave and harsh judgement goes above and beyond what we asked for. Justice was done and the worry of my client was vindicated. It’s a major victory for him.”
If you have been a victim of a number plate fraud or any other identity usurpation in France please share the experience of how this was resolved with us via email@example.com
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