News release

June 18, 2013

Website offering license renewals fool some drivers

OLYMPIA — Several websites targeting drivers across the country are promising easy online driver license renewals, but appear to be delivering little except credit card charges.

These companies are using paid advertising results on the major Internet search providers like Google and Yahoo to lure customers away from the official Department of Licensing (DOL) website. This is leading to extra fees paid to unknown companies who appear to be offering little more than services already available for free using the official DOL website. Customers have reported these sites are charging as much as $35 dollars for “customer service” assistance in renewing a driver license.

“Be suspicious of anyone who wants to charge you a fee to get a government form,” said Pat Kohler, DOL Director. “If you have any question about what is being asked of you on a website, double check the Internet address and verify it includes 'wa.gov’ which indicates it’s a Washington state government site.”

Doing business online with DOL and other government agencies is safe, but know these simple tips to make sure you are doing business with DOL and not an imitator:

  • Access to DOL information and forms is free on the DOL website.
  • Whenever you look at search results, keep in mind that the first several results may be paid advertising. Don’t just click on the first link; take a moment to examine your search results and pick carefully. If you need to do business with DOL, choose one that includes our “wa.gov” domain in the website address.
  • Take time to read the fine print. These sites are taking advantage of the fact that people seldom read disclaimers on websites.

DOL customers can also sign up for License Express, a fast, easy and secure way to manage your driver license and all of your vehicle, trailer and boat licenses in one online service. Licensing Express utilizes a highly secure login process through the state’s Secure Access Washington service to safeguard personal information.

This service allows people to take care of the most common DOL license transactions like renewals and address changes. It also makes it easy to take care of many less common tasks like ordering a duplicate driver license or ID card, signing up for email renewal reminders, ordering copies of your driving record and reporting the sale of vehicles or boats.

DOL customers can learn more about License Express and sign up for this service at the DOL website at dol.wa.gov. DOL posted a video on YouTube explaining that these websites are not associated in any way with DOL.

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