docsMedway Council Trading Standards Service is alerting consumers to a scam aimed at getting local people to pay over the odds for identification documents – such as passports and driving licenses.

The warning follows complaints from customers who have unknowingly applied and paid for identification documents through a commercial enterprise – rather than directly to official issuers such as the DVLA or Passport Office.

The commercial enterprise takes a cut of the fee before passing the remaining amount on to the official issuer to process the application.

In some cases, the application is never processed and the customer has to go to the effort of completing the forms again and paying twice for their identification.

Graham King from Rochester fell victim when he applied for a new passport by following one of the top Internet search engine results for ‘passport application’.

Graham said: “People should be very wary when using the Internet – don’t always choose the top search result. I paid £40 simply to be sent a passport application form which I could have collected free from the Post Office”

Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact, Councillor Peter Hicks said: “These companies add no value to a person’s application for ID documents – they are just a way for someone to make money for nothing.

“If Medway residents have any concerns about a scam or sharp practice they can contact The Citizens Advice Consumer Service for further advice on 08454 04 05 06.”