DENVER -- Colorado’s top lawyer asks for the public’s help to shut down a scam targeting undocumented immigrants.
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman says scammers are exploiting the lengthy delays for immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
Those delays are the result of just three offices statewide that provide the special licenses: in Grand Junction, Colorado Springs and west Denver.
Immigrants say it’s taking about three months to get their licenses after booking appointments online or by phone.
It is a privilege many of us take for granted--to legally get behind the wheel of a car.
“I was calling every day, every day,” says undocumented immigrant Claudia Chavez, who has lived in Colorado since she was seven years old.
It took her three months to finally get her driver’s license.
“I have to drive to Grand Junction to get my driver’s license. It took five hours to get there. So it’s kind of hard. But we finally got it. So, I’m so happy with that,” she says.
This demand for driver’s licenses is daunting and may have created an illegal market.
“It’s essentially like scalping tickets. Here, you are talking about a free government service someone is profiting from,” says Coffman.
Colorado’s Attorney General says people are hoarding appointment times and then selling them.
“We have had reports from folks that have said they been charged up to $1,000 for an appointment. Absolutely inexcusable. It is taking money from people who need that for other things for their families,” she says.
The DMV offers about 90 appointments a day for the estimated 150,000 people who want one.
When you try to schedule an appointment online, there are no appointments available in January, February, March and April.
That’s as far in advance as you can book.
“We want the people who are doing this to stop and if we have to sanction them we will,” says Coffman.
“These people are my friends. They told me to call, to make appointments,” says Chavez.
Since she has already gotten her license, she now helps friends and family maneuver through the system in a language that is not their own.
She can’t believe others would profit from it.
“I think that’s not fair, because everybody, we need to help each other,” says Chavez.
Coffman says they’re investigating how the scam works, and how the scammers contact their victims.
If you paid for a DMV appointment, the AG’s Office would like to hear from you at: 1.800.222.4444. They have Spanish-speaking investigators at the ready. You can contact them at the Attorney General's Office website as well.
Appointments with the DMV can be made for free.