DVLA warns drivers about licence renewal scam
Although the internet has lots of useful purposes, not everything on the web is as it seems.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has warned drivers to always make sure to use the official government website whenever they are applying for driving licence renewals.
The DVLA states that some sites are charging extortionate prices as a handling fee to renew a driving licence, while this would be free of charge through the GOV.UK website.
Though these websites are technically not scam websites (as they do offer the services being advertised) they are making money from a service that is free when applying directly through the DVLA.
The way the services are advertised can be deceiving, and drivers should remain vigilant when they are looking to renew their licence.
DVLA stated that in 2021, it had been notified by more than 800 British drivers who had paid a few to renew their licenses through a third-party website.
DVLA Chief executive Julie Lennard has urged drivers, especially those who are elderly and vulnerable to always make sure they are using GOV.UK when renewing their licence.
“Drivers looking to renew their licence at 70 should use our online service which is secure, free of charge, and also the quickest, easiest way to transact with the DVLA.”
As drivers over 70 are required to renew their licence every three years, they are more susceptible to this scam. Many third-party sites will even appear high up in the Google search results for the DVLA, often causing confusion.
This may result in drivers inadvertently using the websites thinking that they are dealing directly with the DVLA. These sites are not affiliated with the DVLA or government agency in any way.
Applications made through external sites are not processed any quicker than those made through the GOV.UK website. The GOV.UK website states that your renewed driving licence should arrive within a week if you apply online.
The DVLA has previously explained that these third-party websites comply with regulation if they display a disclaimer stating that they’re not affiliated with the DVLA and link back to official government services.
What can I look out for?
Understanding how scams trick you is an essential part of understanding how to protect yourself.
If the website offering DVLA-related services does not have a GOV.UK in the address bar, it is a red flag that it may charge additional handling fees.
Another sign is that you are being asked for money for something that was previously free for you, such as updating your cars log book or address when moving house.
These types of websites can also look similar to legitimate websites to trick you into believing you are on the correct website.
Customers are advised to make sure they are accessing official information on DVLA and its services from the GOV.UK website.
The agency will never ask for bank details over email and never sends out text messages about vehicle tax refunds.
Some other advice includes:
Never share your driving licence images and vehicle documents online
Never share bank details or personal data online unless the website is trusted
Only use GOV.UK when looking for DVLA contact details
Immediately report it to the police or Action Fraud if you think that you may have been the victim of a scam
Resist the pressure to act immediately, and double check everything
Stop and ask someone that you trust – a family member, friend or neighbour.
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