The DVLA has issued a warning to drivers in the UK.
Websites have been asking drivers to pay for services which are free on the DVLA website.
The DVLA said some sites are offering to help with V5C vehicle registration certificates or renewing a driving licence from the age of 70.
All of these can be done for free on the DVLA website.
These secondary websites do genuinely offer the services they advertise – it is just they charge too.
Even if the DVLA does charge for a service, copycat websites will ask for even more, according to the Mirror.
For example, it costs £14 to renew a driving licence on the DVLA website, but up to £60 elsewhere.
The DVLA said it has been contacted by 1,200 drivers about the issue since January 2020.
MoneySavingExpert deputy editor Guy Anker said: “These copycat sites aren’t illegal, but they dress up like legitimate webpages, and use clever tricks to appear higher on search engines.
“They get you to fill in forms, which requires no more work on your part than if you’d done it yourself via the official sites, and then they overcharge you for ‘administration’ or ‘services’ – which is really just passing it to the relevant body, with no extra work involved.”
If a website offering DVLA-related services doesn’t have “gov.uk” in the address bar, it means it may charge these extra fees.
Another sign is that you are being asked for money for something that was previously free for you – like updating your car’s log book when you move house.
DVLA chief executive Julie Lennard said: “Gov.uk is the only site where customers will find our official services, many of which are free.
“You may be charged a premium when using other websites offering services that are not connected to DVLA.”
Drivers were previously warned they face a hefty fine and penalty points on their licence if they pay with mobile phones at drive-thru restaurants.
And if a new driver is caught it would be enough for them to be stripped of their licence and banned from the road.
The current highway code states that it is illegal to pick up and use a hand-held phone while the engine is still running.
This means that many unwitting people are inadvertently breaking the law by paying with their phone at a drive-thru or petrol station.
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