Beat the Streets: Scammers Selling Free Guides Outside DMV Offices

Preparing for the 800 possible questions on a driver's license test isn't much fun for anyone, but for Mairim Romero the task seemed almost impossible.

She doesn't speak English and just arrived to the U.S. from Cuba a month ago. She went to the DMV to pick up a study guide but soon realized the one she had taken home wasn't in Spanish.

"They didn't have the book in Spanish," Romero said.

The DMV told her the paper copy is only offered in English. But just outside the office, a man offered her a study guide in Spanish. The catch? This one wasn't free, unlike the official English guide.

"He was selling it for $30," Romero said.

When she got home, she realized what she bought wasn't a Spanish translation of the English study guide. Instead, it was a list of 280 questions and answers.

NBC 6 Investigators took cameras to that DMV office located inside the Mall of the Americas in Miami. Within minutes of our NBC/Telemundo employee arriving at the DMV location, a woman sold him a guide for $20 with the promise it would help him pass the driver's exam.

"They tell you the guide gives you questions and answers, that the test is 50 questions and if you get 40 right you pass," said the NBC/Telemundo employee.

Another man sold the NBC 6 Investigators another guide. We took the guides we bought to Julio Ortega, the driver license manager at the Mall of the Americas.

After reviewing the questions, Ortega said, "These are definitely not the questions to the test."

Ortega said the state doesn't release test questions. And while it's not illegal to sell them, these questions may not help. When we asked Ortega if we could pass the test by studying those questions and answers, he said, "I highly doubt it."

The NBC Investigators questioned the man about selling us his unofficial guide. He told us he worked for a driving school. But the DMV said schools can't solicit or sell within 300 feet of a DMV branch; a rule that's tough to enforce, especially this location at a mall.

"They're taking advantage of people that have no knowledge," Ortega said.

While anyone can download a study guide in English, Spanish and even Creole for free, the DMV doesn't publish a hard copy in Spanish, yet.

"We're currently working on our Spanish handbook. It's completely being rewritten," Ortega said.

Until that happens, Romero warns others not to waste their time and money buying the questions.

The DMV said driving schools that sell anything within 300 feet of a branch risk losing their license.

You can find a link to the state's study guide, as well as a practice test at the following links:

Resource Center: Handbooks & Manuals
Practice Test

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