The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles learned today of a bogus website asking motorists to register their vehicles and renew their driver's license using a credit card. DMV is warning Vermonters not to use this website as it is not legitimate.
The bogus website operates under the guise of both Business.com and vtregistrationrenewals.com. If computer users use the search engine Google and type in Vermont registration renewals or a similar search phrase, the bogus website can be the first link that appears. The Vermont DMV is warning computer users not to visit these websites, and only visit the official Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles website to do their on-line transactions.
"These bogus websites look extremely authentic, inform the user they can save a trip to the DMV and then take the user through a series of screens that appear legitimate," said Vermont DMV Commissioner Robert Ide. "These bogus websites eventually ask computer users for their credit card information. Please do not give it to them."
The Department of Motor Vehicles has reported the bogus websites to the Vermont Attorney General's office, and the State has contacted Google to have the bogus web links removed from its search engine.
The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles does offer some services on-line. Vermonters looking to legitimately do business with the Vermont DMV through the Internet should visit www.dmv.state.vt.us.
In general, things to look for to determine if a site is legitimate or spoofed are the following:
The URL (web address line) will show the http as https. Note the "s," which means "secure." If this is missing, it is not a secure site.
Look for the image of a closed pad lock in the lower right hand corner of the screen. This lock indicates that the site is secure, as long as the lock appears locked. An open lock indicates the site is not secure. Seeing this lock in any area of the page, other than the lower right hand corner is a red flag that the site may not be real.
Look for misspellings or the inappropriate use of words or incorrect information. On the DMV spoofed site, the prices are incorrect, and it asks if you have a "conservative plate," which should read, "conservation plate."
For more information on information security please go to the Vermont Information Security web site at: http://itsecurity.vermont.gov/.