Driver taken for a ride by licence site

Swindon Advertiser: Brenda Thompson was charged £70, rather than the usual £20, to renew her driving licence photo by a website that appeared to be linked  with the DVLA Brenda Thompson was charged £70, rather than the usual £20, to renew her driving licence photo by a website that appeared to be linked with the DVLA

WHEN Brenda Thompson decided to renew her driving licence photo online, little did she know she would fork out £70 for the privilege.

The 67-year-old from Gorse Hill searched for the DVLA website on Google and clicked on the first result, promoted by Google, dvla-driving-licence.co.uk.

She proceeded to fill out her details on the website believing that she had come through to the DVLA.

But she later found out that rather than being charged the £20 fee for the renewal, £50 more had been withdrawn from her account.

“I was absolutely fuming,” she said.

“When they took the money I called DVLA but they said they weren’t affiliated with the site and there was nothing they could do about it. It’s one of these sites that pays Google to be top of the list when you go on and search.

“I thought it was an official site so I didn’t think to check the terms and conditions, why would I.

“It’s only when you go and have a look you realise they charge you for it.

“But as well as paying all that money they now have my personal details.

“The money’s gone and there’s nothing I can do about it but I am concerned there are people out there older than me who might find themselves in the same situation.”

The DVLA has issued a warning to consumers to avoid such websites, reminding people that the GOV.UK web address is the official and only website with the DVLA.

They have received a number of inquiries and concerns about several websites offering a check and send service, and the Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service will continue to investigate reports of bogus websites which may be acting illegally.

Trading Standards said that Brenda was not the first person to have been duped by similar websites.

Sylvia Rook, Trading Standards Institute's joint lead officer for fair trading said: “In principle, a practice such as this is not illegal. Many businesses provide a service that consumers could carry out themselves relatively easily.

“One of the problems is that these private, paid for, websites often appear above the official websites in Google searches, and have official-sounding web addresses.

“When applying for any Government document the best place to begin your search is at: www.gov.uk . From this website you should either be able to apply directly for the document or service you require or you will be signposted to the official website.”

Trading Standards said there are also a number of other third party websites people should look out for. These include websites for renewing and applying for passports, a provisional or full driving licence, EHIC European Health Cards and fishing (Rod) Licences.

Comments (23)

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6:36am Thu 6 Feb 14

Blackmalkin says...

Driving lcence looks realistic though!
Driving lcence looks realistic though! Blackmalkin

7:34am Thu 6 Feb 14

Chowmai says...

Again, there needs to be a law against stupid people!
Again, there needs to be a law against stupid people! Chowmai

8:13am Thu 6 Feb 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

If you do not know how to use the Net, do not use it or at least surf it under an adult supervision.
If you do not know how to use the Net, do not use it or at least surf it under an adult supervision. A.Baron-Cohen

8:42am Thu 6 Feb 14

ChannelX says...


“I thought it was an official site so I didn’t think to check the terms and conditions, why would I."


While I do feel a bit sorry for this lady, the above attitude is precisely why sites such as the one she used manage to make such a healthy profit so easily.

Even if you 'think' a site's official, surely a quick read of the T&Cs before you hand over a chunk of money isn't too strenuous?
[quote] “I thought it was an official site so I didn’t think to check the terms and conditions, why would I." [/quote] While I do feel a bit sorry for this lady, the above attitude is precisely why sites such as the one she used manage to make such a healthy profit so easily. Even if you 'think' a site's official, surely a quick read of the T&Cs before you hand over a chunk of money isn't too strenuous? ChannelX

8:59am Thu 6 Feb 14

mrwoo says...

Blackmalkin wrote:
Driving lcence looks realistic though!
That's because it is numpty nutz. All they do is apply for the license on your behalf and charge you for doing it. If she was happy to pay £70, what's her problem?
[quote][p][bold]Blackmalkin[/bold] wrote: Driving lcence looks realistic though![/p][/quote]That's because it is numpty nutz. All they do is apply for the license on your behalf and charge you for doing it. If she was happy to pay £70, what's her problem? mrwoo

9:12am Thu 6 Feb 14

Glad3k3 says...

Just checked the website, it does advertise renewing licences for £70. It also says that it's not affiliated with the DVLA either, and has a link to the DVLA itself in the header menu.

I'm just wondering how she missed these...
Just checked the website, it does advertise renewing licences for £70. It also says that it's not affiliated with the DVLA either, and has a link to the DVLA itself in the header menu. I'm just wondering how she missed these... Glad3k3

10:06am Thu 6 Feb 14

PaulD says...

The paid for adverts at the top of Google results are generally no infiltrated by scam companies. Normally it's for software downloads. This particular scam is a new one on me.

My golden rule is to NEVER follow a paid-for ad on Google. Either type in the address you want directly to the URL bar or check the searhc results for the genuine results and check the URL they point to.

The comments above about this woman being stupid are unfounded. She was merely naive and has bravel brought this issue to the public eye in order to warn others.

If you want to block adverts altogether online, then start by using a decent browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome and install the Adblock Plus and Ghostery extensions. (although the former doesnlt block google ads by default)
The paid for adverts at the top of Google results are generally no infiltrated by scam companies. Normally it's for software downloads. This particular scam is a new one on me. My golden rule is to NEVER follow a paid-for ad on Google. Either type in the address you want directly to the URL bar or check the searhc results for the genuine results and check the URL they point to. The comments above about this woman being stupid are unfounded. She was merely naive and has bravel brought this issue to the public eye in order to warn others. If you want to block adverts altogether online, then start by using a decent browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome and install the Adblock Plus and Ghostery extensions. (although the former doesnlt block google ads by default) PaulD

11:12am Thu 6 Feb 14

RichardR1 says...

This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.
This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal. RichardR1

11:16am Thu 6 Feb 14

RichardR1 says...

Mind you the DVLA are scamming a bit. I have only had recently to apply for a new licence as I lost it, so it has a new photo, but they still insist I have to change it again in June which is 10 years on from the original photo ID.
Mind you the DVLA are scamming a bit. I have only had recently to apply for a new licence as I lost it, so it has a new photo, but they still insist I have to change it again in June which is 10 years on from the original photo ID. RichardR1

11:45am Thu 6 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

The usual Moronic judgment from some of the woman who had been ripped off. Maybe she isn't as confident and familiar with computers as those who ridicule her?
The company who have fleeced this pensioner should be the ones getting slated. It's an easy mistake to make
The usual Moronic judgment from some of the woman who had been ripped off. Maybe she isn't as confident and familiar with computers as those who ridicule her? The company who have fleeced this pensioner should be the ones getting slated. It's an easy mistake to make Davey Gravey

12:35pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Glad3k3 says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
The usual Moronic judgment from some of the woman who had been ripped off. Maybe she isn't as confident and familiar with computers as those who ridicule her?
The company who have fleeced this pensioner should be the ones getting slated. It's an easy mistake to make
We're assuming she's got some reading comprehension, as she managed to navigate to the website in the first place. If she didn't read "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website, or look at the header, or at the promo on the right - https://dvla-driving
-licence.co.uk/right
_promo.jpg - but still found her way to the bottom and clicked on the service she required and then the Proceed button, and proceeded to fill out her details and stuff, that suggests negligence and failure to read on her part, not lack of confidence or familiarity.
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: The usual Moronic judgment from some of the woman who had been ripped off. Maybe she isn't as confident and familiar with computers as those who ridicule her? The company who have fleeced this pensioner should be the ones getting slated. It's an easy mistake to make[/p][/quote]We're assuming she's got some reading comprehension, as she managed to navigate to the website in the first place. If she didn't read "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website, or look at the header, or at the promo on the right - https://dvla-driving -licence.co.uk/right _promo.jpg - but still found her way to the bottom and clicked on the service she required and then the Proceed button, and proceeded to fill out her details and stuff, that suggests negligence and failure to read on her part, not lack of confidence or familiarity. Glad3k3

12:41pm Thu 6 Feb 14

semitonic says...

RichardR1 wrote:
This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.
You still using your 'pier to pier net work' Robbo?
[quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.[/p][/quote]You still using your 'pier to pier net work' Robbo? semitonic

1:10pm Thu 6 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

Chowmai wrote:
Again, there needs to be a law against stupid people!
And there seems to be an endless supply too! This isn't the first story on here like that, not sure someone would want to admit to be stupid though.
[quote][p][bold]Chowmai[/bold] wrote: Again, there needs to be a law against stupid people![/p][/quote]And there seems to be an endless supply too! This isn't the first story on here like that, not sure someone would want to admit to be stupid though. house on the hill

1:27pm Thu 6 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

RichardR1 wrote:
This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.
So scamming is legal now then?
[quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.[/p][/quote]So scamming is legal now then? house on the hill

4:17pm Thu 6 Feb 14

The Real Librarian says...

house on the hill wrote:
RichardR1 wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.
So scamming is legal now then?
Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.[/p][/quote]So scamming is legal now then?[/p][/quote]Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website, The Real Librarian

5:52pm Thu 6 Feb 14

ChannelX says...

The Real Librarian wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
RichardR1 wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.
So scamming is legal now then?
Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,
Exactly. They're actually very clear and upfront about their service and what they are.
[quote][p][bold]The Real Librarian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.[/p][/quote]So scamming is legal now then?[/p][/quote]Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,[/p][/quote]Exactly. They're actually very clear and upfront about their service and what they are. ChannelX

8:05pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

Thumb fiddler
Thumb fiddler Davey Gravey

10:28pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Phantom Poster says...

ChannelX wrote:
The Real Librarian wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
RichardR1 wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.
So scamming is legal now then?
Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,
Exactly. They're actually very clear and upfront about their service and what they are.
Are you pretending to be naive or what? You know exactly why these companies pay google to appear at the top of searches for a service which is entirely unnecessary - and has no purpose other than to "scam" people out of their money.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Real Librarian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.[/p][/quote]So scamming is legal now then?[/p][/quote]Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,[/p][/quote]Exactly. They're actually very clear and upfront about their service and what they are.[/p][/quote]Are you pretending to be naive or what? You know exactly why these companies pay google to appear at the top of searches for a service which is entirely unnecessary - and has no purpose other than to "scam" people out of their money. Phantom Poster

10:47pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Phantom Poster says...

ChannelX wrote:
The Real Librarian wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
RichardR1 wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.
So scamming is legal now then?
Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,
Exactly. They're actually very clear and upfront about their service and what they are.
Sorry, are you the ChannelX who was recently bleating continually - "oh my god my account''s been cloned, my account''s been cloned, help! help!!"

... and yet you criticise a 67 year old woman for not knowing how the internet works?
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Real Librarian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.[/p][/quote]So scamming is legal now then?[/p][/quote]Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,[/p][/quote]Exactly. They're actually very clear and upfront about their service and what they are.[/p][/quote]Sorry, are you the ChannelX who was recently bleating continually - "oh my god my account''s been cloned, my account''s been cloned, help! help!!" ... and yet you criticise a 67 year old woman for not knowing how the internet works? Phantom Poster

11:05pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Phantom Poster says...

I got really bored with this forum with the demise of BobFM (RichardR1, please say hello!), but ChannelX is a fitting replacement. I didn't really think so to start with, but his total unmitigated hatred toward "Davey Gravey" has convinced me otherwise (come to think of it, he doesn't seem to have a problem with hatred of anything at all - thinking psychopath!)
I got really bored with this forum with the demise of BobFM (RichardR1, please say hello!), but ChannelX is a fitting replacement. I didn't really think so to start with, but his total unmitigated hatred toward "Davey Gravey" has convinced me otherwise (come to think of it, he doesn't seem to have a problem with hatred of anything at all - thinking psychopath!) Phantom Poster

8:21am Fri 7 Feb 14

ChannelX says...

Phantom Poster wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
The Real Librarian wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
RichardR1 wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.
So scamming is legal now then?
Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,
Exactly. They're actually very clear and upfront about their service and what they are.
Sorry, are you the ChannelX who was recently bleating continually - "oh my god my account''s been cloned, my account''s been cloned, help! help!!"

... and yet you criticise a 67 year old woman for not knowing how the internet works?
I can perfectly well use the internet myself, but I can hardly stop others from doing what's necessary to clone my account - can I?

How did you prevent your account being cloned?
[quote][p][bold]Phantom Poster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Real Librarian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: This scam has been highlighted on several TV programmes, as has the one involving Passports. The simple thing to check for is Gov in the URL, if it's not there it's a scam site, although not illegal.[/p][/quote]So scamming is legal now then?[/p][/quote]Its not Fraudulent if you state, as they have that "Our service is not connected to or affiliated with the UK Government or Driving Vehicle Licence Agency and acts as an agent processing the application. These services are available from other government sources for no fee." in the main paragraph on the website,[/p][/quote]Exactly. They're actually very clear and upfront about their service and what they are.[/p][/quote]Sorry, are you the ChannelX who was recently bleating continually - "oh my god my account''s been cloned, my account''s been cloned, help! help!!" ... and yet you criticise a 67 year old woman for not knowing how the internet works?[/p][/quote]I can perfectly well use the internet myself, but I can hardly stop others from doing what's necessary to clone my account - can I? How did you prevent your account being cloned? ChannelX

8:31am Fri 7 Feb 14

ChаnnelX says...

Well?...
Well?... ChаnnelX

1:46pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Dollyo says...

My colleague drew my attention to this post as I dont normally read or watch the news as it's so depressing. I wanted Brenda to know that I too paid £50 to this company when I applied for my son's provisional driving licence, so you're not alone! I cant believe how horrible most of you have been, thanks to one or 2 for sticking up for her, especially PaulD who sounds lovely and intelligent, unlike some of the others. I dont consider myself to be stupid and I know how to use a pc. But being a very busy lady, I was rushing to apply and just picked the first site which has dvla in the web address. As it charged the exact fee (£50) I assumed it was all ok. It was only when I received a letter asking for another £50 cheque made payable to dvla that I realised I'd been conned. There's no need for online checking services for this kind of application as they're very straighforward. I think the government should legislate against them and stop allowing Google to put these kind of websites at the top of the page just because they're paying for it.
My colleague drew my attention to this post as I dont normally read or watch the news as it's so depressing. I wanted Brenda to know that I too paid £50 to this company when I applied for my son's provisional driving licence, so you're not alone! I cant believe how horrible most of you have been, thanks to one or 2 for sticking up for her, especially PaulD who sounds lovely and intelligent, unlike some of the others. I dont consider myself to be stupid and I know how to use a pc. But being a very busy lady, I was rushing to apply and just picked the first site which has dvla in the web address. As it charged the exact fee (£50) I assumed it was all ok. It was only when I received a letter asking for another £50 cheque made payable to dvla that I realised I'd been conned. There's no need for online checking services for this kind of application as they're very straighforward. I think the government should legislate against them and stop allowing Google to put these kind of websites at the top of the page just because they're paying for it. Dollyo

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