On Your Side Alert: Suspicious call claiming DMV connection

Published: Sep. 18, 2013 at 2:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2013 at 10:10 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Department of Motor Vehicles is issuing a warning about a suspicious phone call making the rounds. Marketers, pitching insurance deals, are using the agency's name claiming to have information from the DMV. A viewer called 12 after she received one of the calls; we investigated.

It's a call you may get soon. An offer for lower insurance and the caller claims they can give you that rate based on your DMV records. But is it true? Sunni Brown with the Virginia DMV says no. "DMV does not sell insurance, DMV does not solicit the sell of insurance and we do not give out information from records for marketing purposes," she explains.

Brown says it's not clear what the callers are after but you should be skeptical. "If you have not reached out to an insurance company, if you are not shopping around for insurance and have not put your information out there and you are just getting these calls kind of out of the blue, that should be a red flag for you," Brown says.

The DMV says it is investigating the calls but admits, it is difficult to track down who is responsible. There is one sure fire way you can tell the call is not from the DMV. "Some of these instances that we've seen in the past, people have actually said they were from the "Division" of Motor Vehicles, we are the "Department" of Motor Vehicles," Brown explains. She reminds customers to never give out personal information over the phone.

"If DMV does call you, you are not going to be surprised. You have either called us and asked for a call back for some reason, or you've recently completed some type of transaction and needed a follow up," she says. Other states have also issued alerts about this problem. While Brown confirms the calls are not from Virginia DMV -- she says the law does give certain companies access to DMV data. "There are some instances where people can get limited access to DMV information. Insurance companies are one of the entities that can do that. But again, it is very limited," Brown says.

She says that limited data is usually shared when the consumer is already a customer or is inquiring about becoming a customer. Still, if you get a call claiming a DMV connect, Brown says be suspicious. "We were really grateful to hear that this customer had not given out her personal information and had notified you, who notified us to let us know so we can investigate," she says.

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