Action Fraud are reminding members of the public to always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information after receiving 5,000 reports about fake emails and texts purporting to be from TV Licensing.
The messages contain links to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information.
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.
How the scam works
In October 2018, Action Fraud warned of TV Licensing phishing emails after a large number of reports were received by their phishing reporting tool which can be found at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing
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’.
Protect yourself from fraudulent emails
- Never answer unsolicited emails 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.
- Don’t assume a phone call or email is authentic. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name or address), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Criminals can easily spoof the phone numbers and email addresses of companies you know and trust.
- Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information, and never click on the links and attachments in emails or texts you receive out of the blue.
- Your bank will never call and ask you for your PIN, full banking password, or ask you to transfer money out of your account.
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 even if it’s a few pounds and if you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
In a statement about the scams 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.”