Floridians, consider yourselves warned: Someone is using a scam website to trick people into paying to visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles web site.

It seems someone has paid a fee to search engines so that when someone searches for information on the DHSMV website, the scam website is at the top of the list. When the searcher clicks on the scam site it asks them for personal information; name, contact information and a credit card number. Then the site charges their credit card before connecting them with the FREE DHSMV website.

That’s right: The scammers are charging people to access a free web site.

The Florida Highway Patrol released a statement this week which advised anyone trying to visit the DWSMV web site not to fall for the phishing scam.

To say the websites are misleading is an understatement,” said DHSMV Executive Director Julie Jones. “They provide small disclaimers that state they are not affiliated with the Department and then proceed to charge customers anywhere from $25 to $50. It is an unbelievable racket.”

The scam websites to have a small disclaimer on their site which advises visitors they are not affiliated with the DHSMV, the Florida state government, nor any governmental agency of any kind, so the sites are not actually breaking the law. But even with the disclaimer it seems likely at least some innocent web surfers are going to fall for their ruse and fork over their hard earned cash to visit an otherwise free web site. It might be technically legal but it sure sounds like a scam to us.

The Department wants to arm our customers with information about these illusive websites so they are not duped into paying unnecessary fees of any kind,” Jones added. “The websites are legal, but unethical.”

It is always free to visit the My Improv Traffic School website so you can learn more about our online defensive driving course. You have to pay for the course, but visiting the web site is always free.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net