'Ghost cars' with fake plates racking up hundreds in EZ Pass fines

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
'Ghost cars' with fake plates racking up hundreds in EZ Pass fines
Ghost Cars with fake license plates are racking up hundreds in EZ Pass bills - leaving unsuspecting car owners with bills worth hundreds. Nina Pineda has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's an old problem law enforcement officials say is exploding. So-called "Ghost Cars," with fraudulent temporary license plates made of paper, are racking up hundreds in EZ Pass bills - leaving unsuspecting car owners with bills worth hundreds.

After a frustrating month fighting the bogus bills, they reached out to Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side.

"It wasn't me, I wasn't there, it was not my car," car owner Joanne Barbara said.

"I don't know who's at fault, I just know it's not me," said car owner Walter Gursky.

Barbara and Gursky are strangers with the same pricey problem. Both got sent a slew of EZ Pass violations for cars going through tolls that were not theirs.

"I went to the PD, and they said very common, this isn't an isolated practice, someone somewhere is copying plates," Barbara said.

Her temporary plate was issued to her when she bought her Audi SUV in the spring. A paper tag with the same number was captured on a black Audi sedan, snapped at toll plazas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and in Cranbury, in Woodbridge and in Newark several times.

The driver racked up more than $600 in tolls and hefty fines and now she's even being sent to collections on the past due bill.

"That's when I said I had to do something," Barbara said.

A copy of Gursky's temp plate for his truck was slapped onto this white Tesla, photographed in the Amboys and Jersey City -- his violations total: $167.

Gursky said he wasn't around Amboys.

"I don't go anywhere, my car is in my driveway," he said.

But what's worse is his EZ Pass keeps auto-replenishing, dinging his credit card for dozens of someone else's tolls.

Barbara said it went on for five months.

Both sent their disputes to EZ Pass via express mail, with proof they weren't driving the cars sporting their tags.

"I had to gone to the dealership, the police department, to motor vehicle, I went there three times," Barbara said. "I said let's call Channel 7 On Your Side and Nina Pineda and here we are."

And away we went asking EZ Pass to look again at the evidence.

EZ Pass said it had already zeroed Barbara's account and notified the collections company. We also helped Gursky get off the hook.

"It says zero balance, thank you so much Nina, 7 on my side," Gursky said.

"I have been trying to take care of this for five months and if it wasn't for 7 On Your Side, another five months," Barbara said.

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