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Fraudulent car tax website tricks driver out of cash
A WOMAN was fined for not paying her tax on time after she had bought what she thought was a legitimate tax disc from an almost identical fraudulent site.
Chloe King, who works at Hughenden Autos for her boyfriend, usually pays her tax online, and when the time came again this year she typed the web address into the search bar from the official renewel letter.
She paid her six month road tax for £194, and thought no more of it, until weeks later she realised it still hadn't arrived.
On ringing the DVLA she was told she had used a fraudulent site, which is known to the Government agency, and she would have to buy a tax disc.
To add insult to injury she was fined £40 by DVLA, rising to £80 if not paid quickly, for driving without car tax.
Chloe, 33, said: "The website looked identical. I am not someone who ever gets scammed.
"The boxes and colours and fonts were the same."
She said she later realised the only difference was inside the green triangle box, which should say DVLA.
Instead there was an exclamation mark and in very small writing it said this is not associated with the DVLA.
However, in the contacts box it gave the DVLA number.
Chloe then had to pay £154 for a legitimate tax disc.
She said: "I think it is ridiculous. I think they [DVLA] do have a duty of care at the end of the day.
"This website lists them as the contact person and phone number.
"I don't see how they can say it is not affiliated at all."
A spokesman for DVLA said that it could not comment specifically about this case, although confirmed it was in contact with Chloe. A statement issued by the organisation said: "The Government is aware of a problem with third party websites passing themselves off as legitimate government services, for example to customers who are applying for driving licences. Some sites exaggerate the nature of the services they provide, or deliberately underplay the services that people can get for free or at a lower cost from official sources.
"Several organisations have a role to prevent websites making misleading claims. The Government is working, and will continue to work, with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB), Which? and search engine providers such as Google, to raise awareness of this issue and to ensure enforcement action is taken where appropriate.
"DVLA has published advice on GOV.UK to remind motorists that GOV.UK is the first stop for motoring services and that other websites may charge additional fees. DVLA also directs motorists to GOV.UK in all its leaflets, forms and in news stories and its social media channels."
There is a webpage available on GOV.UK where members of the public can report misleading websites - go to www.gov.uk/misleadingwebsites
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