Texas temporary tags redesigned in attempt to reduce fraud

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles announced a major overhaul to temporary tags in the state on Thursday, in an effort to cut back on fraud.

Fraudulent dealers have had access to the state system and created thousands of fake temporary tags that have appeared across the country.

The DMV says they spent months redesigning the paper plates, working with law enforcement to add new security features to try to cut down the production of, and access to temporary tags.

"With the support of our law enforcement partners, The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is setting a new standard for temporary tag security and design," said TxDMV Executive Director Daniel Avitia.

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(Source: Texas Department of Motor Vehicles)

The DMV says the new tags are more complex and are harder to duplicate than the current ones.

The new tags include:

  • Texas flag watermark. • Enhanced depiction of tag expiration date, vehicle year and make, and name of issuing dealer.
  • Identification of the specific type of tag issued.
  • Font selection and size that maximize readability of primary components.
  • Active and passive security features identifiable by law enforcement.
  • Numerous pieces of embedded data and text, linked to law enforcement databases, that can be created only by internal TxDMV computer systems.

Earlier this week, Grand Prairie police officer Brandon Tsai died after crashing his cruiser while chasing a car with a fake temporary license plate.

Grand Prairie police chief Daniel Scesney expressed his frustration with the number of fake paper plates on the road in Texas and called on Texas lawmakers to do more to address the issue.

"This is a problem that is plaguing the entire state. Where violent offenders, burglars, car thieves are using the fictitious tags to conceal their identities and facilitate crime," Scesney said during an update on the officer's death Tuesday.

'It cost a cop his life': Police chief rails against fake paper license plates in Texas

The Texas DMV says they have made a series of changes since the 2021 Legislative Session to prevent the improper use of temporary tags.

The measures include limiting the number of tags licensed Texas dealers can create.

In April, the new head of the Texas DMV told lawmakers the production of fake temporary tags has greatly declined, but admitted more needs to be done.  

Licensed dealers will begin issuing the new plates on Dec. 9, 2022.