It is a common scam that people setup websites to look just like official websites where people go to do official business such as getting a new driving licence, updating their passport, paying a car parking bill or paying for entry to a town centre congestion zone etc.
You might think these people are regular criminals or teen age computer hackers, but they can turn out to be apparently respectable people.
Simon Button set up a website offering DVLA Licence Applications. He charged people £91.60 to fill in the application and his site would then send the form to the DVLA. The customers did get their licence application BUT this is a nasty trick to play on people as the real cost at the DVLA website is only £34.
Button paid for Google adverts so that his website came higher on searches (e,g, for ‘replacement driving licence’) than the official DVLA website.
When you search for official services on Google or other search engines you expect the official site to come top of the list and most people will notice if it doesn’t but for many in a hurry it’s a case of clicking without reading too carefully and they can end up paying a lot more than necessary – to line the pockets of greedy scammers such as Simon Button.
Google did remove the adverts for Button’s website when notified, as it breached their rules on selling products or services that are available from the Government at a lower price without a clear added value.
Simon Button is a solicitor, specialising in commercial property, as well as director of the International Colleagues School of English, a school in Norwich.
His website does carry a disclaimer saying it is not affiliated to the DVLA, but it’s easy to miss that or misunderstand it.
Copycat sites such as Simon Button’s pop up all the time, so be careful if you want to make an official transaction – do not be ripped off .
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