Ghost tags

Motorists in New York City and across the country have turned to fraudulent temporary license plates to drive without car insurance or valid licenses, to skirt tolls, taxes and fees, or to commit more serious crimes on the road with their identities concealed.

When a driver’s license is suspended and doesn’t have car insurance, there’s a way to get behind the wheel. It involves temporary license plates and it’s being used by criminals to avoid tolls, cameras, taxes and fines.

Vast numbers of temporary license plates trace back to a network of warehouses and office buildings across Georgia and New Jersey that each serve as the business address of dozens or even hundreds of enigmatic used car dealers. Used car dealers have exploited loose state regulations to fraudulently issued temporary license plates, which flow through a thriving black market.

These are the paper tags that car dealerships put on cars they just sold or leased so that customers can drive off before receiving metal license plates. That’s virtually the only scenario in which a dealership can legally issue a temp tag, as they’re known. But amazingly there are plenty of temp tags for sale online, and the sellers don’t seem too concerned whether the buyer is allowed to be on the road.

You can get temp tags from many states, counterfeit temps run at about $50, and real temp tags that are less likely to be noticed by the police even though they were acquired illegally. 

Read this great series of articles to learn more about the crime and how poor victims are suffering through the lack of insurance.