Online tax scam highlighted again as pensioner falls victim
By: Click4Reg Team
Last updated: 16 June 2014
The importance of buying tax discs through the correct channel has been highlighted again after a pensioner was duped out of money. It’s been reported in the past that a number of rogue operators have designed websites similar to the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA’s). These charge people administration fees for their tax disc, pushing up the costs considerably. Motorists with personal number plates and traditional regs have been urged to ensure they’re careful when using online services.
Syd Bill, an 85 year old from Burton, went online to renew his car’s tax disc. Unfortunately, he wrongly navigated to one of the scammer websites and ended up paying £40 in additional administration charges, instead of solely paying for the tax disc itself. However, the rogue website is doing nothing classed as illegal, despite its practices being somewhat morally and ethically dubious.
Mr Bill said, “I taxed my car online for £180 but found a debit of £220 in my bank account. I then learned there is a copycat or mirror site which picks up my details and charges my debit card.” He accused the copycat website of being a ‘rogue trader’ and urges people to stay clear. So enraged was the pensioner, that he contacted local MP Andrew Griffiths, who revealed that he’d written to the DVLA on a previous occasion about the “worrying problem”.
In response to the problem and ongoing issue, a spokesperson from the DVLA revealed they knew of the websites, which perfectly mirrored many official sites in an effort to dupe unsuspecting consumers. However, the Office of Fair Trading recently ruled the companies were doing nothing illegal by charging additional fees for their service. The only way to avoid being duped is to ensure the website being used ends with .gov.uk, the DVLA said. They also explained, “The Government, led by the Cabinet Office, is taking action to tackle rogue websites and is working with organisations such as the Advertising Standards Authority, the National Trading Standards Board, Which? and search engines, including Google, to raise awareness of this issue and to ensure enforcement action is taken where appropriate.”
For motorists with personal number plates and traditional registrations, it’s vital to check the website being used when renewing tax discs to ensure they’re going through the correct channels. And, by avoiding the rogue traders, no fees will be noted other than those for the discs themselves.