Scammers in Maine are calling residents and telling them they owe money to the state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The callers demand immediate payment and threaten residents with arrest or license suspension if they do not pay, according to Maine Attorney General Janet Mills' office.
The callers apparently are using technology that alters their real phone number to instead appear to originate with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Mills said the scam has been going on for several weeks and mirrors one that occurred in Maine earlier this year. Government agencies do not call people to demand immediate cash payment, she cautioned.
Maine officials first were alerted to the scam when people began contacting the Secretary of State's office regarding a phony website that appeared to be a place where residents could go to renew licenses. After providing personal information and paying a fee, users received information on license renewal but failed to receive a new license. The site actually states that it is not affiliated with a government agency but the how information was presented on the site creates the impression that it is official.
Specific language on the site's entry page states: "Driver license applications must be processed by an official DMV location/website. However, independent third-party application assistance is available through this site as a value-add to official DMV services, which may be free of charge. Application assistance services simplify the process by providing personalized guides, document preparation and live support." Visitors can then click a button acknowledging they understand that the site is not affiliated with any government agency.