Warning against fake TV licensing emails

Fraudsters are sending the public fake TV licensing emails to steal their personal and financial information.

Victims who click on the link are led to a convincing looking TV Licensing website – this could lead to fraudsters draining bank accounts and committing identity fraud. In September and October alone, 2,685 reports have been made to Action Fraud’s phishing reporting tool.

Hooking victims in

Reports 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.

When a victim clicks on the link, they will be led to a convincing looking TV Licencing website. The website is designed to harvest as much personal and financial information as possible from the victim.

Although all the emails are different in style, they all lead to the same website which is being hosted on different domains. The emails claim that TV Licencing has been trying to contact customers regarding the payment of a bill or a change to their personal information.

The fraudulent website will prompt victims to add their payment details, including the Card Verification Value (CVV) code on the back of their card, account number and sort code. With this information, fraudsters could drain bank accounts and commit identity fraud. It may also ask for the victim’s name, date of birth, address, phone number, email and even mother’s maiden name which suggests fraudsters will try to access other online accounts.

Protect yourself from fraudulent emails

TV Licensing has the below useful tips for spotting a scam email.

  • Never answer an unsolicited email from TV Licensing – the organisation will never email you, unprompted, to tell you that you’re entitled to a refund or ask for bank details/personal information.
  • Check the email contains your name – TV licensing will always include your name in any emails they send 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 use? For example donotreply@tvlicensing.co.uk. 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 are not sure, go directly to the TV Licensing website.
  •  All of TV Licensing’s guidance on this issue is available on their website.

If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling
0300 123 2040, or by using the online reporting tool at www.actionfraud.police.uk

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