Unscrupulous websites are preying on the naïve and vulnerable by charging customers to declare their cars off-road – a service that is available freely and easily on the DVLA’s own website.

Sites including get-sorn.co.uk, registeroffroad.co.uk and sornservice.co.uk are charging £25 or £30 for a ‘fast-track’ service to those in fear of being fined or having their vehicle clamped and removed if it is not properly declared as being off the road. A ‘fear of getting it wrong’ has led to these websites taking advantage.

Declaring a vehicle SORN (statutory off-road notification) is free via www.gov.uk/make-a-sorn and takes just minutes to complete. But thanks to clever search engine optimisation, the paid-for sites often appear ahead of the free service on a Google Search.

Honest John Managing Editor, Dan Powell, said: “The vast majority of people will, of course, continue to use the government service. But the big concern is that those who aren’t familiar with the process of DVLA paperwork or, indeed, foreign nationals who aren’t aware that a free service even exists could be suckered into paying for something that doesn’t need to be paid for. It needs greater regulation.”

News of these scams join reports of overseas gangs fraudulently attempting to charge clubs more than £1000 for club stands at UK events like the Classic Motor Show at Birmingham’s NEC. Despite appearances, these have absolutely nothing to do with the NEC or organisers Clarion Events. Apparently, it’s a long running scam that’s been around for many years, yet could still catch people out. With a daily churn of classics also fraudulently advertised online, enthusiasts need to remain vigilant against the plethora of attempts to catch them out.