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Copycat website banned by Google

In recent weeks there’s been increasing concern that private reg and Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) registered drivers across Britain may have been conned into paying too much money for their tax disc. A copycat website, taxdisc-directuk, was set up using the same template as the DVLA. It then charged people additional service fees to get their documents sent out. However, it seems as if Google is finally starting to ban bad websites in an attempt to safeguard people from online fraud. The result may be that drivers can more easily navigate to official sites, saving money in the process.

When people go to replace their tax disc, they often use a search engine to find the relevant site. However, because companies can pay a lot of money to appear as featured services, they often appear at the top of results. In addition, due to many firms using similar templates, a lot of consumers are duped into thinking they’re using official channels. Of late, one tax disc website came to light; taxdisc-directuk. While the DVLA charges only for the tax disc itself, the copycat company added an additional service fee, resulting in people paying up to £40 more than they should have.

In the latest research, it’s been revealed that many copycat websites have now disappeared from Google’s results. In the past, when the term ‘passport’ was searched for, many unofficial links appeared above the .gov website links. A blog post by Google posted back in January said, “Weve allocated substantial technical, financial, and human resources to stopping bad advertising practices and protecting users on the web. Hundreds of our engineers, policy experts and others have dedicated their careers to this work. We removed more than 350 million bad ads from our systems in 2013.” It seems as if action is now being taken to eradicate some of these websites.

There are still some concerns for motorists, however, with the copycat websites still being at large. It’s not just for tax discs either, with similar service sites also built for driving theory tests. The official cost from the DVLA is just £31, however, Google still features links for a website offering theory test bookings for £48.50. And, for all motorists going online to update their personal information or ensure they have the right tax discs and documentation, it’s essential to ensure they’re utilising the official site and not a copycat company.

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