MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Highway Patrol continues a high-profile stance in high-crime areas of Memphis, including traffic saturations where troopers are on the lookout for fake Tennessee license plates.

THP Troopers were out patrolling in Memphis on Thursday.

“We do targeted enforcements,” said Lt. Ashley McCarver with THP Shelby County. “We want to get the highest areas where violent crime is within the City.”

These tags can be purchased online, but having one on your car is a felony.

“But now we’re on to the ‘true blue’ tags now that we’ve had those in 2023, those are being duplicated or created online and ordered and put on vehicles,” McCarver said.

THP posted comparison photos on their Twitter page showing real versus fake Tennessee tags — the fake tag is a light blue.

“The color’s not true,” McCarver said. “They’re not matching it to the blue color that Tennessee had started using in January.”

The difference may not be as obvious to everyone but the color’s not the only giveaway. The font style is different on the fake plate, the bar code is stamped along the right-side border, compared to the real tag where the bar code is along the bottom border of the plate and there are no stickers to apply to show your plate number’s month and year of expiration.

Detecting the real from the fake often comes down to an observant trooper.

“Whenever the troopers run the number it will come back ‘not on file’ in NCIC through TBI and we know to further investigate to see if that is a true tag,” McCarver said.

Purchasing fraudulent tags online is a nationwide issue that is classified as a Class E Felony.

The THP recommends you not purchase your tag online but instead take time to visit your clerk’s office and get the legal registration from your vehicle.