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Protecting Your Money: temporary license plates a big problem in Texas

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Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 20:10:30-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — We have all seen vehicles driving around the Coastal Bend with temporary tags, but do we ever stop and wonder, are those legit or fake?

Fake or phony temporary tags are a real problem in Texas, costing the state an estimated one billion dollars in lost revenue. So much so, that the executive director of the Texas DMV resigned in February in part due to this issue.

The one billion dollar estimate comes from Nueces County Tax Assessor Collector, Kevin Kieschnick, who believes it's at least that much because "it continues to happen and the state let's it happen. And there seems to be no enforcement of it. So, the problem's not going to fix itself until the state finally decides they're gonna do something about it."

This is not the first time we've spoken with Kieschnick about this issue, but it doesn't go away.

In February, the executive director of the Texas DMV, Whitney Brewster, resigned. An investigation exposed how lax security allowed criminals to infiltrate the DMV's system, create hundreds of thousands of paper plates, and sell them for profit.

Kieschnick points out an even bigger problem.

"And the big problem is Texas DMV doesn't have any law enforcement abilities either," he said.

While it is easy to go online to find out how to make your own temporary paper plates, Kieschnick offers a suggestion.

"A lot of this can be controlled if we mandated that dealers move to webdealer and process all transactions through webdealer. And then they would take the recommendations that our association made to the TXDMV and not allow them to print stickers and plates until we've approved the transaction. That would stop it," he said.

At least somewhat, he added.