Car registration fraud - what to do if it happens to you

Have you been receiving parking tickets and fines for a vehicle you do not own? It's possible that a car that's not yours has been registered to your name and address, so here's what to do to get the situation sorted out. 

I have been getting fines for a car I don't ownAre you receiving tickets for a car you don't own?  (Credit: Caspar Rae/Unsplash)

Can anyone register a car in my name and address?

Yes, it is possible for someone to buy a vehicle then register it to a third-party name and address without the person's knowledge, initially.

By downloading a V62 form from the DVLA, anyone can register any vehicle in the name of a third-party for a fee of around £25.

Why would someone register a car I don't own to my address?

The first many people know that a vehicle has been registered in their name is when they receive a parking fine for example, or a demand for other types of unpaid penalties.

This can be extremely concerning for people on the receiving end of the demands. But what can they do?

Should I phone the police?

It is unlikely that the police will be able to help you at this stage, as any issue will likely be a civil matter and not a criminal offence in most cases.

If you do phone the police, do not call in the emergency number, you should call on the non-emergency 101 number or online here.

How to report a car fraudulently registered to me?

If you are getting letters and fines relating to a vehicle you don't own (see section further down about opening mail not addressed to you), you should contact the DVLA and ask for proof to show you are not the owner.

Give them all the information you have about the car registered to your home. This should include the number plate and make and model. You should find this correspondence that has been sent to you about the vehicle. Send copies of such fines, but keep the originals for your records.

The DVLA will receive your request to make sure the car is not associated with your address and update its records within four weeks. You will be sent a letter to confirm this, which you can them forward a copy to anyone demanding payment from you.

Confirming you are not the owner with the DVLA should stop any further fines or other demands arriving, but keep the original letter confirming the vehicle is not registered to you just in case some are still in the system.

Where should I send my letter to the DVLA?

Send the letter to:

DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1ZZ

Should I pay any demands?

You should not pay any demands for money before telling the debtor that you are not the registered keeper of the vehicle, as you will find it difficult to recover this at a later date.

Can I open letters that come to my home but are not addressed to me to check out vehicle fraud?

Often, if a person is committing some sort of vehicle fraud based on your address, letters will start arriving for a person who does not live at that address. If you cannot find a valid reason for this - such as the person being a previous resident - it could be a sign that you should be concerned. 

However, opening mail addressed to someone else - even if it is your home or business - could result in YOU getting in serious trouble. The UK's Postal Services Act 2000 section 84 says: "A person commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he - (a)intentionally delays or opens a postal packet in the course of its transmission by post, or (b) intentionally opens a mail-bag."

Additionally, it states: "A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person’s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him."

Talking about penalties, the act states: "A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (3) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both."

Look out for return addresses on the envelope - such as the DVLA - and phone the organisation about the letters and explain your position. 

 
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