By Stan Bush
DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado’s Attorney General is launching an investigation into a scam targeting undocumented residents trying to get a Colorado driver’s license.
“Someone, and we think it’s more than one, have started to hoard the appointments and make them and sell them,” said Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.
The appointments are free to make on the state’s DMV site. The scammers are likely using freshly made email addresses to get the appointments, then selling access to those accounts to victims.
The AG’s office says they have received reports of the victims paying up to $1,000 to get an appointment. It is unclear how many victims there are.
“We started receiving complaints November of last year and so did the Division of Motor Vehicles,” said Coffman.
The investigation is still trying to find out how the victims are being targeted. Groups that work with undocumented residents believe the victims are paying for appointments at neighborhood corner stores that offer to help with taxes, insurance, and other important filing duties.
“These are the business that communities are trusting and they go to to get help,” said Daniela Villarreal, who works with a coalition to support immigrant families.
Many undocumented residents are desperate to get a driver’s license, but are still waiting two-and-a-half years after the IDs were made legal. There are only three offices in the state offering the program and a three month wait once an appointment is made. Thousands of people are still waiting just to get an appointment.
“Individuals are trying to get this license they’re going to local businesses because they don’t have internet,” said Villarreal.
Coffman said the investigation hopes to close any loopholes that are allowing the scam to continue. The AG’s office is asking for victims to come forward. Victims who are nervous about working with a state agency are being allowed to remain anonymous.
“We’re interested in finding who took the money, not the people who have been victimized,” says Coffman.