Staying on top of everything you need to drive safely and legally already takes time and effort. Which is why the last thing any driver wants to deal with is a stolen license plate.

It may not be as significant a problem as a stolen vehicle, but license plates get nicked, as well. In fact, the Chicago Police Department recently cautioned local drivers about a spate of incidents of stolen plates that had occurred in communities throughout the city so that people can be aware of the problem and take quick and appropriate action.

There are several key things to know that help ensure your plates are right where you need them.

More License Plates Have Been Stolen in Towns Throughout Illinois

As drivers, we’ve been taught to lock the doors and keep an eye out for risks to our vehicles. We take many steps to avoid everything from red light tickets to parking violations. But many people would be surprised to discover that they should also check their vehicle to be sure their license plates are both still securely attached to it.

There have been hundreds of reports of different types of license plate theft, including ones that are not attached to any vehicle. In total, this type of theft has doubled in just a short amount of time, and the numbers are on the rise in some cities in Illinois.

Be Careful Removing and Storing License Plates for Any Reason

One driver who removed his plates after selling his car faced an unexpected challenge. He began receiving tickets in the mail from the city of Chicago for fines he supposedly owed. Except for one thing: he wasn’t the driver. Now he faced stiff financial penalties due to actions taken by someone else.

As it turned out, the plates he removed had been stolen from his garage and were now on a different vehicle far away. Ten different violations added up to over $1,000, and the fines were being sent to his home since he was perceived as the registered owner from a legal standpoint.

Why Would Someone Steal Your License Plate?

Disputed tickets based on stolen license plates or stolen vehicles are not uncommon. A plate under someone else’s name is handy for someone who doesn’t have a license and wants to fly under the radar. That way these criminals can appear to be legitimate, since a plate is on their vehicle, but they don’t have to go through the process of registering it under their own name.

Fortunately, this type of fraud is easy to avoid as long as you properly handle your plates from your old vehicle – something that can be done quickly at any CFSC Auto Services location.

Do You Need License Plates to Drive Legally in Illinois?

Every driver in Illinois, as with most states, must be in possession of up-to-date license plates as well as a valid driver’s license. Plate stickers to replace the old ones can be purchased each year at CFSC Auto Services, as well.

So, What Should You Do If Your License Plate Is Stolen?

If one or both of your license plates are stolen, file a police report immediately in the town where you live. In addition, visit a CFSC Auto Services location near you to get your plates replaced as quickly as possible. You can stop by or phone in advance to ask about:

  1. CFSC hours of operation
  2. ID and other documentation you may need
  3. Possible replacement fees
  4. Anything else you want to know about replacing lost or stolen plates

Ask About Vehicle Title, Registration, License Plates & Stickers at CFSC Auto Services

To lower your chances of losing your plates, take actions to protect them. These may include:

  • Inspecting them to be sure they’re well-secured
  • Installing surveillance cameras in your vehicle
  • Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity nearby

CFSC Auto Services throughout the Midwest are there for you if plates are lost or stolen. We will make sure your title and registration are handled properly and registered online. We also manage sticker renewals on the spot and license plate transfers when you sell your vehicle.

Visit any CFSC Auto Service location to access quick and convenient services for your car. Check us out online to find out what else we can take care of – all under one roof!