Better Business Bureau warns drivers of renewal scam targeting the Madison County License Department

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Tis the season for spending money, and sometimes more than you bargained for -- especially if scammers have anything to do with it.

WHNT News 19's partners at the Better Business Bureau are constantly battling thieves who want to take your cash and your personal information.

Oftentimes they use links and email attachments to compromise your information. That's what the BBB said is happening now via a new spoofing scam. This one uses fake information from the Madison County License Department.

Every vehicle owner knows they have to fork out money each year to pay for their tags. Now, the BBB says drivers in Madison County have alerted them to people preying on this usually routine event.

"He received an email with an invoice for a certain amount for license tags," Elizabeth Garcia with the BBB said of one consumer. "He was suspicious because he thought he had already paid for it, but as he explored the particular email he found that the domain names were for locations that were not even in the country, let alone in Alabama or in Madison County."

Madison County License Director Mark Craig said he knows about this circulating scam too.

"It comes from an email address that says 'tags@madisoncountyal.gov,'" Craig explained. "While that is a good working email through my office, but it also has some other letters and things attached to the end of that that is not from us. We do not send invoices through the email system. No, we send out reminder notices."

Garcia also warned against using any contact information within the email.

"Don't call a number that might be in the email, don't click on any links that might be in the email, because that could take you to a malicious website that could download code on your computer and compromise it," Garcia said.

How do you avoid this type of scam?

  1. Think about how the Madison County License Department usually contacts you. All official correspondence is sent via the US Postal Service (USPS). They will typically not contact you by email.
  2. If you receive a suspicious email like this one, don’t click on any links, click on an attachment, or call a number listed in the email.
  3. Hover over the “From” email address, without clicking it, to see if there is another, hidden, address associated with it – especially if the hidden address has a domain name from another country. If so, it’s a scam email!

Best Practice: If you receive an email like this, just delete it. If you believe that there may be an issue with your tag or account, call the License Department using a telephone number from a trusted resource – not the email!

If you would like to report a scam, call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.