Lines and hard-to-get appointments have unauthorized websites offering services and helping themselves to customer data.
(TNS) — First it was the Real ID, that new federal-compliant identification card that spawned soul-sucking lines out the door at DMV offices up and down the Golden State.
Now comes a warning from the state Department of Motor Vehicles that certain unscrupulous online operators have set up websites that charge customers bogus fees to to complete the electronic driver license and ID card application. The heads-up on Tuesday said these fake sites also are charging fees for people trying to get DMV appointments and complete other online transactions.
And when it comes to dealing with the DMV, these ripoff sites only add insult to injury.
The DMV said in its news release that the department has received reports of websites charging customers a fee to complete the new online drivers license application. The agency said its investigations division is looking into the claims for any violation of consumer protection laws. The DMV release added that there are no additional fees to complete the electronic application for a license or for any online services.
“Also,” according to the agency, “there is only one official website for conducting business with the DMV, www.dmv.ca.gov. To avoid paying unnecessary fees, only conduct online transactions on this official website.”
While some unofficial websites might include a disclaimer that they are not, in fact, affiliated with an official government department, these private sites could possibly be giving consumers inaccurate information about DMV services and fees. To make matters worse, the DMV says some of these fraudulent sites include user agreements that allow the operators to access and use customers’ personal information, which they can then turn around and sell to other businesses.
The DMV said any customers trying to conduct online transactions should only type “www.dmv.ca.gov” into their web browser to make sure they are being directed to the agency’s authentic homepage. One more warning: internet search engines may not always list the official DMV website as the top result and unsuspecting consumers can easily wind up clicking their way to a bogus private website.
Click here to access the official California DMV site.
©2018 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.