12 On Your Side: Third party offical-looking websites cause confusion

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Feb. 25, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Some look like official government websites but they are not and it could be costing you money.

These third party sites are not necessarily scams, however they do make money off of services that you could get for little to no cost.

"We have been taught that dot.gov, dot.org stay away from dot.com when you're looking for a reliable trustworthy site," said GiGi Turner with Augusta's Better Business Bureau.

But that may not always be the case. Turner said now just about anyone can purchase a ".org" website.

"Consumers might be confused," Turner said.

For example, the website dmv.org is not an official motor vehicle website but a private company.

"It's an accredited business that's in California. Dmv.org is a company that tries to take the hassle out of going to the DMV," said Turner.

But using go-between websites like dmv.org could cost you.

"Be aware that there are third party sites that are offering the same services but they are going to charge you a fee. Some of them exorbitant fees," Turner said.

We searched the Internet and even found unofficial postal service websites. One is called MyPostalAddressChange.com.

Another one is called ChangeOfAddress.us. One site charges a fee of $40. But these websites are not scams.

"It's not illegal and that's why it's a buyer beware. You have to be accountable, you have to be responsible for you," Turner said.

She said if you are unsure whether you are on an official government website, call the agency directly or contact the Better Business Bureau to be sure.

"They can always contact the BBB. We'll do what we can. We'll research it for them," Turner said.

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