DHSMV warns customers about unnecessary fees

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TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has issued a warning to its customers about deceptive websites that lure people into paying a fee to access DHSMV’s online motorist services. The official-looking websites require their customers to pay a surcharge for their assistance. DHSMV does not require a surcharge for any of its websites -- www.GoRenew.com and www.flhsmv.gov and others. The Department posts fees on www.flhsmv.gov. 
The way the scheme works is quite simple: the owners or creators of the misleading websites have paid a fee to search engine companies to ensure their links are at the top of the webpage when Internet users search for DHSMV’s online services website, www.GoRenew.com.  When customers go to the websites, they are asked for a name, contact information and credit card information, and then are charged just to get to DHSMV’s websites.
“To say the websites are misleading is an understatement,” said DHSMV Executive Director Julie Jones.  “They provide small disclaimers that state they are not affiliated with the Department and then proceed to charge customers anywhere from $25 to $50.  It is an unbelievable racket.”
DHSMV officials say they are disappointed and disgusted that any entity would attempt such a scheme.  However, the websites add a disclaimer that they are not affiliated with the Department or government of any kind, so what they are doing technically is legal.