A WIGAN businessman has has fallen victim to a cloning scam which left him with almost £400 worth of fines to pay.
Shocked Tom Dunn says he has been hit with three fixed penalty charges from London councils for offences committed by someone using his Ford Transit’s registration number.
The 40-year-old, who runs construction firm Dunn (Canadian-UK) in Cricket Street, is now embroiled in exhaustive attempts to clear his name.
He has provided evidence that his van was being used elsewhere when the infringements occurred. And while the rogue vehicle is also a white Transit, a photo taken of one of the offences committed in the capital show it is clearly not the same one.
He has reported the two incidents involving still-outstanding fines (the other was overturned) to the Metropolitan Police and is now considering changing his van’s plates if not the vehicle itself.
He said: “It is extremely annoying. It is creating a lot of work that we don’t need. I can’t help wondering when the next letter’s coming along.
“It is possible someone looked up my van details on any one of several official websites and took the scam from there.”
It was just before Christmas that the first fine was posted from the London borough of Waltham Forest for driving in a bus lane.
Mr Dunn said: “We had never been there. The council sent photographic evidence and while it was a white Transit it wasn’t ours. Ours has a roof rack, stickers on the bodywork and dealership details on the numberplate and that one didn’t.
“We were ordered to pay £85 which would rise to £170 if not paid in 28 days. We got a statement from a customer in Merseyside confirming the van was there on the day of the infringement but it is still not sorted despite calls to the police and DVLA.”
After Christmas came a parking ticket from Lewisham which, after evidence was provided, was cancelled. But last week Lambeth Council sent a £95 parking fine (rising to £190) and so the whole evidence process has started again.
He said: “I want to warn other vehicle owners about this. Don’t ignore the fines but contact the police in the area the offence took place, and get a crime reference number; contact the DVLA and send it a letter about the charges (while keeping a copy). Obtain as much proof as possible for your vehicle’s alibi and complete the form that comes with the fines that allows you to challenge them as quickly as possible.
“I am now seriously considering forking out to change the plates if not the vehicle.”