Florida officials issue tips, warn consumers about tag renewal scams

Tips part of #SteerClearOfFraudOAG campaign on automotive fraud

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Officials are issuing tips that warn consumers about tag renewal scams.

The tips come as part of Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' #SteerClearOfFraudOAG campaign on automotive fraud.

Officials said tag renewal scams involve company websites that act as a third-party service provider and promise to renew motor vehicle registrations quickly for a premium fee.

Tag renewal scams most commonly involve companies trying to charge fees for services already provided by the FLHSMV, officials said.

"Florida drivers should use caution to ensure they do not fall victim to any irreputable third-party service provider using deception to charge undisclosed or exorbitated fees," Moody said. "I am excited to partner with FLHSMV to help prevent tag renewal scams and raise awareness about other schemes targeting Florida drivers through our #SteerClearOfFraudOAG campaign."

"FLHSMV is proud to offer a safe and convenient way for customers to do business with the department," FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said. "In 2018, customers completed 3.76 million transactions through the department's online site, GoRenew.com, and I am dedicated to continuing to provide excellent customer service and expanding online transactions for those we serve."

Officials said sites that offer customers the option of renewing online often require payment of additional, and sometime excessive, convenience fees.

When using GoRenew.com, which is the official renewal site of the FLHSMV, the department charges a $2 convenience fee applied to the total transaction, officials said.

Here are some tips officials provided for consumers to avoid tag renewal scams:

  • Research state fees in advance. Officials said motor vehicle fees are listed on the FLHSMV website.
  • Be aware that private third-party companies that renew tags or registrations may charge service fees on top of the standard renewal costs charged by the state.
  • Use the FLHSMV's official website for renewals. Officials said the FLHSMV offers ways for Floridians to renew licenses, vehicle tags and vehicle registrations online and in person.
  • Identify solicitations or postcards that appear to be bills or official mailings from federal, state, city or county governments. Officials said before sending payment or providing personal or confidential information, confirm with the government entity that the mailing is legitimate.
  • Pay special attention to fine print and look for disclaimers that may indicate the mailing is a solicitation and not an official mailing.

Anyone who experiences a tag renewal scam is encouraged to report it to the FLHSMV or the Florida Attorney General's Office. Officials said consumers can call the FLHSMV Customer Service Center at 850-617-2000 and can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com or calling 866-9NO-SCAM.

About the Author:

Troy Blevins is a Digital Content Editor who has been with Graham Media Group since 2012.