THIS weekend my wife received a fine for non-payment of toll fees after using the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

She insisted she had paid the fee promptly, but on investigation we realised she had paid the fee to a bogus copycat website, that imitated the genuine site.

She received an official-looking ‘purchase confirmation email’ from a plausible email address, plus the charge on her card was against a plausible company name.

This fake site was even listed higher on the Google results search than the official site.

As it was her first time paying to use the bridge, she was not aware that this fake site had charged her an incorrect amount (£5.50 as opposed to the usual £2).

We contacted the Merseytoll customer line on Saturday.

When we said that we had received a fine despite paying, the member of staff asked how much we had paid and as soon as we said £5.50, she said ‘You’ve paid a scam site’.

The member of staff we spoke to was sympathetic to our plight, but refused to accept the good intentioned ‘fake payment’ in lieu of the payment of the fee.

It was advised that we paid the £20 fine plus £2 admin fee (£22) and try and challenge it afterwards, rather than refuse to pay.

I contested that this was unacceptable of them to do nothing, and that they could at least contact Google to have these fake sites delisted from the search results.

We have now contacted the bank to urgently cancel the card used for the payment.

A quick Google search reveals we are not an isolated case, with stories about scam payments found going back to 2017 and 2018.

I can’t believe that even two years later, the owners have failed to address this issue.

There should be clear warning signs, and legal action taken to pursue and take down the fraudulent sites.

Name and address supplied