DOJ Warns Consumers of Confusing Motor Vehicle Websites
Attorney General Tim Fox and the Montana Department of Justice want to make Montanans aware of confusing vehicle service websites charging consumers for services offered free of charge through the agency’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) official online presence.
“We encourage Montana consumers to understand which websites they’re really interacting with when they go online and search for our Motor Vehicle Division,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Government websites are specifically vetted to receive a .gov domain, so if you visit a website that ends in some other extension, it doesn’t actually represent a government agency. We consider these websites confusing because they have names similar to our Motor Vehicle Division, and have been engineered to rank high in online searches in order to gain consumer traffic and charge for services the public could receive for free by visiting our website instead,” Fox added.
Many of these other websites show a pop-up upon page load explaining they offer information for a fee that is available for free on the official Montana Motor Vehicle Division website at www.dojmt.gov/driving. Sarah Garcia, Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Division at the Montana Department of Justice, said, “Citizens need to be aware and read all pop-ups and fine print on these websites, which often sell ‘informational packets’ on how to complete driver or licensing services. While there is fine print stating this, these websites may be vague and misleading in the lead text as to what the consumer is actually paying for.”
Garcia added that no outside website is authorized to renew a Montana driver license online or schedule appointments for services that MVD offers, and reminds consumers it does not charge appointment scheduling fees. She also recommended citizens use Google Chrome as a browser, which identifies potentially hazardous websites by displaying this warning.