WIGAN folk are being urged to beware copycat websites after a woman was stung for an unnecessary £80 while renewing her car tax.
Julie Perea says she is keen to raise awareness of fraudsters running websites offering documents such as driving licences and new passports but which then add extra charges which would not have to be paid on legitimate Government sites.
Julie, from Tyldesley, over-paid a website selling tax discs which was very similar in layout and appearance to the official Government renewal site, which would not have included any additional costs.
The 50-year-old says she is now keen to spread the word about this kind of operation to ensure other people are not taken in and is determined to get the copycat site shut down.
She said: “I just can’t believe it because I’m usually quite careful, but I didn’t know there were things like copycat websites. I do a lot of financial work for my husband’s business and I’m upset and annoyed I could have been fooled like this.
“The website was the same orange colour and set up as the Government one, there were just a few little things like using the letters GBP instead of a sterling sign.
“My husband said to put it down to experience, but I’ve got a voice to shout about it and let people know. It’s not fair and it’s just totally wrong.
“To be honest we can afford to lose that money but there’s a lot of people who can’t and it’s also the principle.”
Julie said she only became suspicious about the website, which she located through searching with Google, when she looked at a bank statement and saw a £2.50 charge for a credit card transaction, which surprised her as she had used a debit card.
She realised the website must have taken her payment and then used its own credit card to buy the tax disc from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and then looked further into it and found several other errors.
Julie has so far recovered £32 of the £40 with the company behind the website deducting an £8 administration fee, but she says she will not be satisfied until she has the whole amount back.
She said: “I tried to cancel it but got an email back saying the company had already processed it, so I’ve only got some of the money back, but I’m determined to get the total £40 paid back.”