Washington Department of Licensing warns of bogus sites deceiving customers

SEATTLE --  Renewing your driver’s license may not be as easy as clicking an online link.

The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) is warning users to make sure they’re on the correct website when doing any DOL business. The site, www.dol.wa.gov is the official provider for any license documents for the state of Washington.

One customer reports that she tried to renew her license on what she thought was the department of licensing website.

She said she filled out all the information requested and submitted her credit card information. It wasn’t until she got an email receipt that she learned she ended up buying a road atlas and never actually renewed her license.

The Department of Licensing said it’s aware of third-party sites that can easily lead customers in the wrong direction.

“In an online search for 'DMV' or 'DOL' some search engines will return advertisements in the form of ‘sponsored links,’ which can lead users to sites that aren’t what they think they are,” wrote Jessie Knudsen, a spokesperson for the Department of Licensing.

The DOL said it’s important for users to use caution when entering their personal information on any website.

The only official way to get licensing forms is through the Department of Licensing. That can be done in person at a licensing office, online at www.dol.wa.gov, or by standard mail.

The DOL has created on-line videos (https://licensingexpress.wordpress.com/?s=third+party) to provide tips for customers on what to look for when doing business on-line. In some cases, the third-party websites are charging customers money to show them how to obtain a license or renew their tabs.

A DOL spokesperson says those bogus sites are getting more sophisticated and are starting to copy a lot of the same features found on the real DOL website.

They suggest that customers always check that the website starts with ‘dol.wa.gov’ and in addition the web browser should be secure and a padlock icon or something similar should be displayed.