KPRC 2 Investigates: Possible solution to the fraudulent paper tag problem in Texas

We are revealing a possible solution to Texas’ fraudulent paper plate problem. KPRC 2 Investigates first exposed our state’s fraudulent paper tag system and the lax oversight of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles more than a year ago. Now, one local security expert is pitching a possible solution to the state.

HOUSTON – We are revealing a possible solution to Texas’ fraudulent paper plate problem. KPRC 2 Investigates first exposed our state’s fraudulent paper tag system and the lax oversight of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles more than a year ago. Now, one local security expert is pitching a possible solution to the state.

Example of how many paper plates are confiscated on area roadways.

Texas has a huge issue with fake paper tags

It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to realize these paper plates all over Texas roadways are a real problem.

“Quite frankly, why are we handing out a piece of paper that somebody can run to a Xerox machine in the 21st century make a change on?” said Senator Paul Bettencourt.

That’s what Sen. Bettencourt said in December after our investigation. The Texas DMV has made some changes to try to catch scammers who obtain car dealer licenses for the sole purpose of selling paper tags. But the plain paper plates are still easily counterfeited with a regular laser printer and a ream of paper from Walmart. What some say our state needs is an entire redesign of the temporary tag system.

“I think we also have to look outside the box and think about getting out of the paper tag business entirely,” said Entrepreneur Koorosh Vafadari.

Katy Entrepreneur Koorosh Vafadari was already brainstorming a more secure temporary tag system that’s harder to copy. And one that makes it easier for police to spot fakes.

KPRC2 Investigates possible solution to fake paper plates in Texas. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

“We can make these labels so that they can adhere, they can actually stick to the back of the car where the license goes,” said Vafadari.

The labels would have an embedded hologram that can not be copied and numbered so that when dealers buy them the state knows which dealer gave out the tag.

KPRC2 Investigates possible solution to fake paper plates in Texas. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

The labels would be color-coded with colors changing every month, so officers could spot an expired plate a mile away. Well, maybe not a full mile.

“As soon as he sees a pink plate in the distance, he knows that that is out of date,” he explained.

When removed, the labels are voided. You can see from the picture below that once it is removed, it cannot be used again.

KPRC2 Investigates possible solution to fake paper plates in Texas. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Vafadari doesn’t want to disclose all of the security features publicly but he did present his ideas to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles back in a private meeting in February. In May the department’s new executive director said the staff was still working on several projects.

“We’re hoping that there is a solution. We’re here to help,” said Vafadari.

Vafadari hasn’t heard back from the DMV. When we asked the department when the public could expect an update on a possible redesign of the paper plate system a spokesperson emailed a statement saying, “no public meetings on this project are currently scheduled.”

Vafadari said if the DMV requests proposals from businesses on a redesign it would take between 3 and 6 months to get the label plates to the state.


About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.