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Hiding in plain sight: fake paper plates a problem in Texas

Hiding in plain sight: fake paper plates a problem in Texas 01:50

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Texas lawmakers say it's time to crack down on a lucrative enterprise involving fake paper license plates.  

Authorities say there are thousands of fake paper tags on Texas streets, because the Texas DMV's online system makes them easy to obtain. 

"They go online, fill out an application, put up a fee, post a bond, get a username and password, and they're in the business of printing tags," said Captain Ed Martin of Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas. 

He said they're purchased by fake car dealers, who frequently sell them online to drivers who are, for example, avoiding inspection, toll fees or covering up a crime. And if you get into accident with one of those drivers… "Somebody's going to pay the price for it. And, more than likely, that won't be the individual that was driving that car," he said.  

Captain Martin said Texas is a laughingstock on the topic compared to the rest of the country.   

"When it comes to paper tags in the United States, Texas leads the way," he said. 

A Texas DMV spokesperson said stopping the production and use of these tags is its top priority. Starting this year, it can now deny an auto dealer access to the database if fraud is identified. It's also a topic that Dallas' Public Safety Committee addressed Monday. 

The Committee discussed brainstorming solutions with other cities to bring to the next legislative session. Captain Martin said he's cautiously optimistic changes are ahead.  

"There are some changes coming. I think for the best." 

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