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Car dealerships unable to register temporary tags due to statewide computer hack

1 year 10 months 3 weeks ago Monday, November 25 2019 Nov 25, 2019 November 25, 2019 4:29 PM November 25, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Car dealerships statewide are unable to register temporary tags with the state due to a computer hack, the effects of which have been felt for a week now.

At Salsbury's Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram, workers are keeping good records to manually enter the information into the state's computer system when it's back up and running. As of Monday, employees were getting error messages, and so were at least two others at dealerships in Baton Rouge that we spoke to.

"Every dealership around the state is in the same bowl of wax," Frank Lopinto said. "Can't report the t-tag and serial number to them and who it's registered to."

Error messages that popped up included "wrong information entered" and long wait times on the site to get even that. The problems first began one week ago when hackers used ransomware to cripple state websites.

"We have a tablet that we are recording all the t-tags in, and we will go back one by one and put those serial numbers back in for the correct person," Lopinto said.

For high-volume dealerships like Salsbury's, selling 35-40 cars per week means having to go back after the sale is finished and manually re-do the registration. For car buyers, it means you need to hold on to your purchase agreements in your car in case you get pulled over.

"When a computer goes down, what happens, it's like the whole world stops because everything is tied to everything on the internet that you do," Lopinto said. "Our lives are controlled by the internet, phones, security systems. When the state got hacked, everything they touch is a problem."

Monday, eight OMV locations reopened after being shut down for a week. State OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germain said this situation is unprecedented. She gave no time frame on when the registration will be back up and running, and said the problems at the OMV could last, on a conservative estimate, for a couple of weeks.

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