Spotting phony DMV websites after new payment platform launched for vehicle registration

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Renewing your vehicle registration can be a simple process online, but the official state website is charging you a convenience fee to renew your registration and soon that fee will also include your license renewal.

If you haven’t renewed you registration since last November—you might not have noticed the state launched a new payment platform on its DMV website which includes a $3.00 convenience fee. 

That money goes to the vendor who is providing the service—in this case—it’s a company called PAYIT which works with government agencies to provide a way to collect fees without the agency having to it themselves. 

Soon, North Carolina will be adding a convenience or transaction fee to renew your license online too.

You don’t pay any of those convenience fees at an NC DMV office but the wait can be long and frustrating.

As a result, many people opt to pay online—and some folks will search the web—thinking maybe there’s a cheaper way to do it. But, officials are warning you to be careful.

“A red flag is if the website claims you can update your license for a cheaper price than the DMV,” said Kayla Gilbert of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

If you type in NCDMV into a search engine, you’ll find lots of third-party websites out there.

“Last year we saw 144 DMV related scams. They included ‘look-alike websites’ where people think they are paying for registration but they’re just paying for information,” said Gilbert.

They can do that as long as they include a disclaimer that says they are not affiliated with any state agency.

Those websites sell all kinds of services, including charging you for the state driver’s license manual which the NCDMV gives away for free.

If you want to make sure you are on the official state DMV website you’ve got to make sure it says ‘dmv.gov’ in the URL.

The BBB says if you’re not using the official state website, there can be a dark side to the third party sites.

  • Information could be out of date or erroneous
  • Third-party websites are susceptible to credit card information theft
  • Your information could be used for future marketing or fraudulent activities

Another problem with third party websites is that there could be a time lag between when you submit your information to them and when the DMV actually gets that information which can cause all sorts of problems for you.

Also, if you do purchase a service from a third party website, make sure you use a credit card so you can dispute any charges.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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