20i Domains

Scummy Website?

Discussion in 'The Bar' started by simonb, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. simonb

    simonb Active Member

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    So I just had a call from my mum who is over 70 and was really upset. She had a letter about renewing her driving license directing her to a government website to do so for free. She typed it in but probably to google not in the url bar and clicked the top link thinking it was the government website. Of course it wasn't and she proceeded to type in all her details including passport no, dl no, NINO, address and credit card number even though she knew it should be free she though they needed it to verify identity. She has been charged £70 for what should have been a free service and only realised when the confirmation email came through.

    I'm sure anyone reading this post would immediately know it's not the gov website. I'm also sure she can get the money back via chargeback however it's all the personal data she has entered that I'm concerned about.

    A quick check on the website https://licencesafe.co.uk/ shows it is run by a UK Ltd company ELECTRONIC CHECK LTD which is owned 100% by a French national called Benjamin Nessim Choukroun. It appears he runs a number of other website charging for free government services like DBS checks etc..

    I've checked and I cannot see if they are registered with the ICO as a data processor which would be a criminal offense. If they are not registered with the ICO then what chance do I have of them honouring a deletion request using GDPR legislation. His website says they don't accept correspondence to their registered address which is nonsense. From experience reporting to the ICO takes in excess of 6 months to even get a first letter from them.

    Other than that I cannot see that what they do is illegal just very scummy. Anyone have any comments on this sort of business model. Also what could a nefarious person do with that information and what protections can my mum put into place to guard against them?
     
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  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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    articles.co.uk
     
  3. seemly

    seemly Well-Known Member

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    Wowsers... That's a lot of information to hand over.
    I guess she could effectively be "cloned", and her details be used for all sorts of credit/loan requests.

    Did she input a password anywhere? Chances are your Mum will use the same password for every website she visits, so if the person already has her email address they can get access to things such as online shopping accounts.

    Maybe look into reporting here:
    https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

    Also, my next steps would be to think about:
    1. Cancel credit card.
    2. Contact her bank? Not sure if this is useful or not...
    3. Get her to sign up for and use a password manager (and don't set the master password to the password that has probably already been compromised).
    4. You should keep hold of the "forgotten password" keys provided by the password manager service.
    5. Update passwords on all online services she uses.
    6. Find out what website it was she used and report to hosting provider for phishing?
    I mean this in the nicest possible way; people who are not fully computer and internet literate should not be using it. It's like the wild west out there. My wife can be just as bad...
     
  4. simonb

    simonb Active Member

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    I hadn't considered the password thing but fortunately no password was required to set up the account. I've found the landing page and can understand why mum got fooled. There is nothing above the fold that states it's not the official site:

    https://renewafter70.co.uk/

    Delving into it there are a whole host of official sounding domains and websites in this group. The good news is they've written back already saying they are going to refund although that was never the main concern.
     
  5. DJ Wood United Kingdom

    DJ Wood Active Member

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    They shouldn't be allowed to operate but I guess they get around it with this statement:

    Please note that we do charge a service fee and we are in no way affilliated with the UK Government or the DVLA. You can apply directly with the DVLA for a reduced cost.
     
  6. dazc United Kingdom

    dazc Active Member

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    Scummy as it may be, this is well established business model and the intent, from what I gather, is to charge a fee for a service that could be done otherwise for free. Whilst it does open opportunities for data fraud, I don't think this is the motivation. This avenue, however, is more likely to be worth pursuing though since the authorities (and google) are well aware of these kinds of scams yet continue to do nothing about them.
     
  7. bensd United Kingdom

    bensd Well-Known Member

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    There are similar companies when you search for land registry plans. They charge £25-50 when you can purchase direct from the official land registry for £3.
     
  8. dee

    dee Well-Known Member Acorn Supporter

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    As @dazc mentioned, this has been going on for ages. Thankfully the fee is probably the main motivation behind the site so your mums data is hopefully safe. It's so easy to get caught out by these as they are very well thought out.
     
  9. gregfindley

    gregfindley Well-Known Member

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    Maybe worth contacting Trading Standards to see if they can advise?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020 at 9:15 PM
  10. Azam.net

    Azam.net Active Member

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    I'm very sorry to hear about your mum's experience.

    As stated above, the proviso they have on their website probably protects them from legal action and the police.

    But it would certainly be worth reporting them to Trading Standards and Nominet for their questionable practices.
     
  11. Dave Cornish United Kingdom

    Dave Cornish New Member

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    Hi all, I've just joined this forum so I can add more to this thread. Last week I personally used licencesafe.co.uk by mistake, thinking it was official. Because I am over 70 the transaction was meant to be free, but I was charged £79. My mistake?

    Three new pieces of information:
    1. On their webpage they stated to me that the cost would be £0. Yet they charged my account £79. That is fraud.
    2. I contacted my bank and the bank's record of the transaction revealed that licencesafe quoted to the bank a different card number (a card number completely unknown to me) to the one I entered on the licencesafe page. Yet it still managed to deduct the £79 from *my* bank account. That sounds very scummy.
    3. Despite the above, the details I submitted to licencesafe have arrived at DVLA and have been successfully processed.

    Dave
     
  12. Dave Cornish United Kingdom

    Dave Cornish New Member

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    Simonb, how did you contact them in order to get the refund? Thanks