CHICAGO (CBS) — If you have a car, you have to renew the registration every year, and a lot of people do it online, including some people who get scammed in the process. The Morning Insiders are looking into questionable websites.
To renew your vehicle registration, you can go to an Illinois Secretary of State facility and wait in line, or you can do what Martin did, and go online for a new license plate sticker.
Unfortunately, instead of going to the state’s legitimate CyberDrive Illinois website, a web search took Martin to a misleading site.
“Here’s the malicious one I ended up clicking on,” she said. “I should have been more aware of the wording.”
Martin wants to spread the word about sites like carregistrationadvisors.org, and driversservices.org.
“They have nothing to do with replacing my sticker. They’re strictly getting $3.99 from me,” she said.
If you read the fine print, the site acknowledges it’s not the government, and that official license services are available for free from the government.
“I knew I was taken,” Martin said. “I was in a hurry, but that’s not an excuse.”
The company behind the sites has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau, citing “pattern of complaints from consumers.”
“It’s very frustrating,” said Illinois Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Dave Druker.
Secretary of State’s Office driving facilities are often packed with people who need a sticker or driver’s license, so the more drivers who renew their registration online, the better.
Druker said drivers can find the license and registration services they need at cyberdriveillinois.com.
Meantime, the state is trying to put an end to misleading websites.
“We’ve met with the Illinois attorney general,” Druker said. “To challenge a domain name is $1,500 a challenge. So there’s almost this built-in protection for the scam artists, and that’s not right.”
Martin eventually got a new license plate sticker from the state, but she learned a valuable lesson in the process.
“We have to be very careful,” she said.
Martin called the operators of the website she used, and got her $3.99 fee back.
The operators of the websites did not respond to CBS 2’s questions.