Warning over TV Licence email scam after victims lost over £200,000 in December
Action Fraud, UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, have issued a warning over a scam TV Licence email that is currently doing the rounds.
In December 2018 alone, 200 crime reports were made to Action Fraud in relation to TV Licensing emails, with victims reporting a total loss of £233,455.
In October 2018, Action Fraud warned of TV Licensing phishing emails after a large number of reports were received through its phishing reporting tool.
A new wave of TV Licensing phishing emails are part of larger fraud, in which criminals are calling victims and claiming to be bank employees and convincing them to part with their money.
Reports made to Action Fraud show that fraudsters are sending out fake TV Licence emails regarding refunds and payment issues to people across the UK.
They will use headlines such as ‘correct your licensing information’, ‘billing information updates’ and ‘renew now’ to trick people into clicking on the link within the email.
Within a week or two, the victim will receive a phone call from the fraudster claiming to be from the fraud department of the victim’s bank.
Fraudsters are convincing victims they are genuine banking staff by using the personal details that the victim provided through the fake website.
The fraudsters are then claiming that the victim’s account has been compromised, possibly by a phishing scam they may have fallen victim to recently, and that they need to transfer their money to a new ‘safe account’.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said:
“Bank staff and police officers will never ask you to move money to a safe account.
“It is also important that you never click on links in emails you were not expecting.
“If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please report it us.”
A TV Licensing spokesperson said:
“We’re continuing to work closely with Action Fraud to raise awareness of the scam emails circulating to the public, posing as genuine TV Licensing communications.
TV Licensing will never email customers, unprompted, to ask for bank details, personal information or tell you that you may be entitled to a refund.
Anyone who has provided their details as a result of a fraudulent email should report it to Action Fraud.
If they have provided bank details, they should call their bank urgently. TV Licensing offers helpful information on scam emails at the following link: www.tvlicensing.co.uk/scam. ”
The TV Licensing Authority has issued the following advice about how to tell if an email you’ve received is genuine or a potential scam.
They will never:
Email you to tell you that you’re entitled to a refund.
Ask you to pay additional money for our services, e.g. when you’re buying a licence or changing your details.
Check the email address
They will almost always use one of the following email addresses: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Occasionally, they partner with other companies to send out emails. These companies include InfoBase-X and Acxiom Limited, who may email you – on behalf of TV Licensing – from Infobase-XConsumer@dm-uk1.com.
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 suspicious.
Check the links go to the TV Licensing website
If you are on a desktop computer, hover over the links in the email (but don’t click them) to see their destination and check the web address carefully. If you can’t hover over the links (e.g. because you are on a phone or tablet) or are not sure what to do, just go directly to the TV Licensing website
Check for a change in style and errors in spelling or grammar
Often, 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.Are there any spelling mistakes, missing full stops or other grammatical errors?
What to do if you’ve fallen victim
-Let your bank know as soon as possible and monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.
-If you suspect your identity may have been stolen you can check your credit file quickly and easily online.
-You should do this every few months anyway using a reputable service provider and following up on any unexpected or suspicious results.
- Every report matters and if you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
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