/ Money, Motoring

Scam watch: driving licence renewals

Denis was almost fooled into paying a lot more than he needed to renew his driving licence by a copycat website. Does this ring any bells with you?

Denis Kearney told us:

‘If you’re over 70, watch out for copycat websites when renewing your driving licence. A website that often pops up when searching online looks just like the official DVLA website, but it charges you 90p to renew your licence. If you pay, you will also be enrolled into a recurring fortnightly charge of £38 for services.

‘The website asks for personal details to be submitted via an authentic-looking form, but this information doesn’t go to the DVLA. Instead, you’ll be sent the official application form to your home address. Thankfully, upon inspection of the small print, I spotted that these additional charges would be made and cancelled my card before any more money was taken.

‘Even if these sites are technically legal, they deliberately set out to deceive people.’

Our say on copycat sites

You should always go directly to the official ‘gov.uk’ website for government services – such as passport or driving licence renewals – rather than relying on search engines, where the results can display copycat websites.

These often charge an over-the-top fee for a free service, or mislead you into signing up for recurring payments. If you fall for one of these, you should be able to get your money back using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (if you paid by credit card) or a chargeback claim (debit card).

It’s illegal for a copycat website to parade itself as a government entity. We have called for a crackdown against sites that don’t prominently display that they’re not associated with the government and that you can get a passport or driving licence without additional costs through the official government website.

We have also pressed search engines to stop displaying adverts for copycat websites at the top of search results. Google has taken action to remove copycat sites for paid search results and has worked to ensure that the official gov.uk sites come top. If you see a misleading website, please report them to search engines on gov.uk.

Have you ever come across a copycat website for driving licence renewals?

Useful links:

Read Which? advice on how to spot a copycat website
Renew your driving licence on the official gov.uk DVLA website
Report a misleading website to search engines on gov.uk

Comments

My experience has been very similar to others on this thread, I thought I was on the .Gov website and went through the process of completing the form. I’m very familiar with .Gov using it 2/3 times a day for work. I thought something funny happened at payment but dismissed it at the time. At no point was I told I was paying £94 instead of £14. I did receive my driving licence.

This is very worrying as it suggests to me that the .Gov website has been hacked. How have they managed to do this? Is our government’s security not up to scratch? Are we paying the price for cut backs in services?

BTW the website has now changed it’s name to http://www.driver-services.co.uk. It is no longer online.

I have cancelled my credit card. Reported to Action Fraud who say it’s not illegal. But if hacking is involved then it would be illegal. When I expressed concern about my other personal information I was told to ask for their privacy policy. How can I see their website privacy policy if the website is no longer online? I’m going to report to ICO for GPDR breaches as I feel my personal information has been used fraudulently. I really don’t know what else I can do.

This definitely needs investigating as the problem seems to lie with Government Services on .Gov.

[Moderator: this URL appears to be or have been a third-party service that may require you to pay for services you could otherwise receive for free. Please use caution in providing any payment or personal details. For more information see Which?’s guide to spotting fake or fraudulent websites].