Michigan residents are being warned about paying for online Secretary of State services without first checking that the website they’re using is the official Michigan.gov site.

The warning was issued Wednesday by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. She says her staff members are receiving more and more complaints from customers who believed they visited a Secretary of State website to complete a transaction and paid a fee, only to later find that the fee did not go to the state, and they did not get the services they needed.

Unfortunately, these customers used an online search engine that directed them to sites not affiliated with the state of Michigan when they were looking for drivers license and vehicle license plate renewal options or other Secretary of State services. These sites misleadingly charge for services or information that are normally available at no cost on the official department website.

Michigan motorists also should be aware of people who advertise themselves as being able to process Secretary of State transactions. As an example, they charge people about $10 to change their address. These businesses and individuals do not have any connection to the Michigan Department of State and the transaction could be done at no cost online, through the mail or at any office.