‘The Ghostbusters have arrived’: New NYC task force will crack down on fake license plates


Multiple law enforcement and transportation agencies announced on Tuesday that they are cracking down on fake and altered license plates in New York City as the plates are increasingly used to evade tolls and commit crimes.

The Plate Task Force will deploy monthly, with officers using electronic license plate readers to identify fake temporary paper plates. Such plates can be bought online or altered with spray paint to change numbers or letters.

The task force has already issued 282 summons and 73 vehicle seizures and made eight arrests, according to the NYPD.

Cars with fake plates are commonly called “ghost cars.” Because they are untraceable to any owner, they can be used to avoid tolls and tickets, including in conjunction with serious crimes, such as shootings, robberies, and hit and runs, Mayor Eric Adams said.

“The ghostbusters have arrived, right mayor?” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a press conference alongside Adams at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. “You see what the ghostbusters can do. We’re going after the ghost vehicles.”

People who use fake plates sometimes have multiple sets and “change them throughout the night,” the mayor said. “You don’t know [where] they are. They disappear into the night.”

They’ve also led to tens of millions of dollars in lost toll revenue, according to the MTA. “And everybody else feels like the sucker for paying the tolls like law-abiding citizens,” Hochul said.

NYPD ticketing for ghost cars has already skyrocketed last year, according to a Gothamist analysis.



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