The internet can be a wonderful thing; allowing us to take care of countless responsibilities from the comfort of home that used to require leaving the house. Need groceries? Order them online and someone will bring them to you? Need to pay a bill? Do it online and avoid a trip to the post office or even to your mailbox. Thanks to COVID-19, we're taking care of our business online more than ever in an effort to keep our social distance from others. That's led the Department of Motor Vehicles to expand the number of services it offers through its website. But, like anything else, that expansion has opened the door to people with bad intentions looking to use it as a way to get your money.

According to the Better Business Bureau, several states are now allowing residents to book appointments and pre-pay for services through their DMV website, which is obviously incredibly handy, if you're on the right website.

See, scammers are a crafty bunch, and are creating copycat websites that look legit, but most definitely aren't. The BBB says they've received reports from several consumers saying they thought they were paying a fee for a renewal, or some other type of service, only to find out later the DMV had no record of the payment. The money was now in the hands of some faceless con artist, and there was little-to-nothing they could do about it.

The good news is, for all the bad people trying to steal your money, there are good people hard at work behind the scenes studying these sites and sharing what they've learned to educate the rest of us on what we need to look for before click that "Pay Now" button.

The BBB says to first take note of the website address. If it doesn't start with, "https://," there's a chance it could be a fake. While there are legitimate websites whose addresses don't start out that way, those that do are more secure. The Bureau also suggests to be careful with third-party sites. Those would be sites claiming to be working with your state's DMV to process payments.

Finally, they recommend using a credit card to pay for anything since many card companies provide fraud protection in the event someone gets ahold of your information and starts making random purchases. If a site doesn't offer the option of paying with a card, that's a red flag.

Your best bet when needing to do any business with your DMV is to go directly to the source itself. Below are the links for Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.

Stay safe!

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