Let’s cut straight to the chase. COVID-19 has continued to play a role in your life. Whether you’ve contracted the virus or not, you’ve had to make sacrifices and changes to keep yourself and others healthy.
But unfortunately, some people are taking advantage of these changes to pull off evil schemes. One group, in particular, is online scammers.
It’s no secret that most businesses are transitioning their operations and workforce online to keep employees healthy. And while this effort is notable and necessary, scammers are using it to try to trick you into divvying up your personal information and money.
What’s worse is that scammers aren’t using fake businesses to disguise their bad intentions. Instead, they’re camouflaging themselves as government agencies that you regularly interact with.
How scammers are using fake DMV websites
The DMV has recently become a popular government agency for scammers to target, and it comes as no surprise. When the DMV closed its doors to protect employees and customers from getting COVID-19, the organization developed an intimidating backlog.
As a solution, the DMV decided to move most of its services online, believing it would help customers get the services they need more quickly. However, not only has the DMV’s online services led to more headaches, but it’s also opened the door to online scammers.
New reports on the BBB Scam Tracker indicate that scammers are creating fake DMV websites to steal credit card numbers and personal information. What’s worse is that the scam is not too difficult to pull off once it’s set up.
For example, it starts with you visiting what you believe is a DMV website. That website might look nice and have all of the information about the DMV’s procedures during the pandemic. The information may also outline the services that you can complete online versus in-person. And maybe the service you need help with can happen virtually.
This news might excite you at first. It’s not hard to love the convenience of doing things online. In fact, you might not even flinch at the idea of putting in your personal information and credit card number to complete a DMV service virtually.
However, that willingness to trust so easily is what can lead to trouble. If you don’t take steps to ensure you’re on a real DMV site, you might end up putting valuable information into a fake DMV website. If that happens, the following scenarios could occur.
1. You’ll lose more money than you should
Some fake DMV websites will offer to complete a service for more money than that service should cost.
For example, scammers might offer to renew a registration for hundreds of dollars even though that’s not the standard rate. However, if you don’t know you’re on a fake DMV website, you might not believe anything is wrong, especially if the site attaches random service fees to justify the price.
The only good thing that might come is that the scammers will still complete your service. They’ll just pocket much more money than they should.
2. You won’t get your service completed
In other scenarios, scammers won’t provide anything for your money. After inputting your personal information into a fake DMV website, you might find yourself out of money without anything to show for it.
These are obviously frustrating situations because the scammers likely asked a hefty price to complete your service. And while it’s annoying to spend more money than you should, it feels even worse when you get nothing in return.
3. You’ll allow someone to commit theft
When you become a victim of fraud, you give scammers the means to use your credit card number and personal information to make purchases. You’ll likely wake up one day and notice all kinds of charges happening in different areas across the country, and things will only get worse if someone has your full identity.
Of course, you can always file a dispute if a scammer is indeed using a credit card number. But that process is sometimes long and challenging, depending on the depth of the fraud.
Who are scammers targeting?
It might bring some comfort to know that scammers are only building fake DMV websites to target a specific group of people. But, unfortunately, that is not the case.
Scammers are willing and ready to target anyone—it doesn’t matter who you are. They know that disguising themselves as a government agency will increase their chances of tricking you into providing personal information, so scammers don’t limit themselves to one audience.
However, it is interesting to note that research suggests millennials are more susceptible to falling for scams. When compared to people 40 years old and over, reports indicate that millennials are 25% more likely to lose money because of fraud, and they’re much more likely to fall trap to certain types of scams.
Millennials typically lose money because of fake check scams, romance scams, business imposters, and of course, government imposters. The Better Business Bureau also backs up this research as their own studies suggest similar findings.
According to the Better Business Bureau, government scams are one of the top types of fraud every year. And millennials are the generation that gets scammed the most.
This information still doesn’t mean that scammers choose to target millennials first. It just means that millennials might be more likely to put personal information and a credit card number into a fake DMV website.
How to avoid fake DMV websites
If you want to avoid fake DMV websites, there are a few obvious steps that you can take. The Better Business Bureau suggests that you should do the following to protect yourself from scammers:
- Carefully review the URL and website
- Use a credit card for payments
- Watch out for phishing emails
These steps are good ways to avoid fake DMV websites. However, if you’re looking for a sure-fire strategy to protect yourself, you should work with credible companies that scammers aren’t targeting.
There are real, reputable businesses that offer DMV services at a fair and reasonable price. And one of those companies is Barry Risk Management, Inc.
While scammers can create look-a-like sites of any business, Barry Risk Management, Inc. makes sure its customers never fall susceptible to scams or fraud. At Barry Risk Management, Inc., the ownership and employees keep an eye out for anything that can deceive customers. And the company has put measures into place to protect you from scammers.
What’s even better is that Barry Risk Management, Inc. has been serving the DMV industry for over 30 years and has an established storefront where their representatives interact with dealerships and individuals all over the country.
If you want to complete your DMV services without worrying about a potential scam, contact Barry Risk Management, Inc. now!