Victims have lost more than £830,000 to the TV Licensing scam designed to steal victims’ personal and bank details.
In the space of a year, Action Fraud has received more than 900 reports of losses due to the phishing email and says it’s continuing to see the scam in high numbers.
How to protect yourself from the TV Licensing scam:
Don’t assume an email or phone call is genuine, even if it includes some of your basic information such as your name or address. Criminals can spoof email addresses so it looks like a legitimate organisation is contacting you.
If you get an email promising a refund, always be suspicious and don’t rush to click a link. Search the organisation and ‘refund’ in a search engine and see if there are any reported scams.
Don’t click on links or open attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to messages which ask for personal details.
Remember your bank will never ask for your Pin, full password or tell you to transfer money out of your account.
There is now a new version of the TV Licensing scam doing the rounds.
This version warns that your TV licence couldn’t be automatically renewed because something went wrong with your direct debit payments.
It then urges you to set up a new direct debit by following a link.
Victims who fall for these scams are asked for a lengthy list of personal and financial information:
Date of birth
Mother’s maiden name
Credit or bank card number and details
TV licence account number.
Once the victim submits this information, it goes straight to the scammers.
How to spot a TV licence scam:
TV Licensing has issued several tips for identifying a genuine email from them:
Check that the email contains your name TV Licensing will always include your name in any emails it sends you.
Check the email subject line Anything along the lines of ‘Action required’, ‘Security alert’, ‘System upgrade’, ‘There is a secure message waiting for you’, and so on, should be treated as suspect.
Check the email address Does the email address look like one that TV Licensing uses? For example, firstname.lastname@example.org. Look closely, as often the address may be similar.
Check for a change in style.
Often the scammers will take the real emails and amend them. Look out for changes in the wording used, especially if it seems too casual or familiar.
Check for spelling and grammar Are there any spelling mistakes, missing full stops or other grammatical errors?
Check the links go to the TV Licensing website.
Hover over the links in the email to see their destination and check the web address carefully. If you’re not sure, go directly to the TV Licensing website.
TV Licensing will never ask you to reply to an email to provide bank details or personal information, and you should be wary of any correspondence that does.
This is one for you to be aware of – don’t fall unwittingly for this scam.
Help us keep Sussex safe
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org