Fake sites are appearing as genuine pages for the DVLA where unsuspecting victims can think they’re renewing their license or updating their photograph.
In one instance a member of the Neighbourhood Watch Scotland believed they were applying for a new license through the webpage.
Instead of paying the typical £14 through the post office or £21.50 on the DVLA’s own site, the member paid £94 to the fake site.
Mark Armstrong, Community Support Officer for NW Scotland said: “These sites are quasi-legal. You see them for passports, ESTA visa applications, driving licences, DVLA. What happens is they advertise on search engines and they are at the top. When you are doing a search, look for ‘ad’ at the top then it’s an advert.
“This doesn’t mean it’s there because it’s the right thing for you it means they’ve paid to be there. These companies advertise on top of official search terms like ‘get a driving licence’. Then they have a site that looks relatively legit but they actually tend not to claim to be the site.
“They say we will process it for you for only this fee and then they charge you a fee on top for what you could get for free or what you could get at a basic set price.
“Many of the third party sites are made to look like official channels to trick drivers but do make clear services are more expensive. Some even put their more expensive figure next to the true DVLA price to make drivers aware they will be charged more.
“However, they claim the extra money goes on offering drivers a better service including weekend and evening support. A mobile-friendly application and personally checked applications are also used as excuses for charging higher fees. But the sites are still able to legally operate because they contain disclaimers saying the site was not official.”
The official channels to get in touch with the DVLA online can be found on the government’s official website: https://www.gov.uk/