Beware of third-party websites when ordering official government documents
In a recent news article, WGAL reported that many viewers have contacted them to say that they were directed to third-party websites when they searched online for passport renewal, driver's license renewal, or vehicle registration forms. These websites charge extra money for their services, even though you can order these documents directly from the government for free.
In addition to charging extra money, third-party websites can also steal your personal information. They may ask for your Social Security number, date of birth, and other sensitive information. This information can then be used to commit identity theft or other crimes.
If you need to order an official government document, it is important to go directly to the website of the government agency that issues that document. For example, to order a passport, you should go to the website of the U.S. Department of State. To order a driver's license or vehicle registration form, you should go to the website of your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
Here are some tips for staying safe when ordering government documents online:
- Make sure the website you are using is secure. Look for a lock icon in the address bar and make sure the website address starts with "https://".
- Do not enter your personal information on a website that you do not trust.
- Be careful about clicking on links in emails or text messages that claim to be from government agencies.
- If you are unsure about whether a website is legitimate, contact the government agency directly to verify.
- Shred any documents that contain your personal information before you throw them away.
- Be careful about what information you share online. Do not give out your Social Security number to anyone unless you absolutely must.
- Monitor your credit report regularly for any unauthorized activity.