Be careful about private websites that look like the NC DMV

Diane Wilson Image
Monday, July 18, 2016
Warning about private sites that look like the DMV
The sites may look official, but the fine print says they're not affiliated with the NC DMV

SANFORD, N.C. (WTVD) -- If you're looking for a quick way to renew your license online, watch out for privately-owned websites that you may think offer you that service. Many viewers are telling me they are confusing the privately-owned sites with the state's official DMV website.

Sanford resident Colleen Kaufhold thought she was saving herself from wasting time standing in line at DMV when she went online to do the license renewal. She mistakenly pulled up and followed the link for renewing one's license.

"I wanted to just renew my license because I figured, hey this is saving me time, I don't have to take time off of work, I can renew it and be done," she said.

She noticed the total charge was $22.95 - about twenty dollars short of what a license renewal will cost you at the actual DMV. She wondered why the amounts didn't match, but figured if she entered her information, including her credit card information, and continued, they'd ask her more questions and the fees would even out.

When that didn't happen, Kaufhold called the NC DMV. It was then she learned that privately owned website has nothing to do with the state DMV. She says a rep told her they've had many calls from people accidentally pulling up the wrong website and paying the fee and never receiving their new licenses.

Instead, the company behind the website provides you with paperwork on the process of renewing your license in your area. Paperwork that is free on the state's DMV official website.

"$22.95. Just for the book. That's it," said Kaufhold. "$22.95. And that's all you get is something telling you how to renew your license."

There are several privately owned websites that offer practice tests or assistance with DMV services. While these websites do explain in small print that they are privately owned and not the official NC DMV website, many viewers tell me they miss that disclosure. Instead they are paying for services that they say they do not need.

The North Carolina DMV does offer services like license renewals online via the official NC DMV website. Be careful when googling for the North Carolina DMV - often sponsored content will show up in the results before the official government site. Be sure the link you follow has a dot-gov (.gov) destination and that the website says "The Official North Carolina DMV Office" at the top.

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