Warning on TV licence fraudsters
MORE than £200,000 has been stolen by fraudsters sending out fake TV Licensing emails to trick people into giving their personal details out.
Action Fraud has issued a warning over “phishing” emails after several reports were brought to the government body’s attention. Phishing is an attempt by fraudsters to obtain sensitive information like bank details, user names and passwords, usually made by email.
Now there has been a new wave of the fraudulent emails which sees criminals calling victims claiming to be bank employees and convincing them to part with their money.
Since last month, 200 reports have been made to national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre Action Fraud about the scam, with victims reporting a total loss of £233,455.
Fraudsters have been sending out fake emails telling victims they are owed a refund or have had issues with their payments. The subject lines in the emails say things such as “correct your licensing information”, “billing information updates” and “renew now” in a bid to trick people into clicking on the link within the email.
In the following weeks, victims received phone calls from a fraudster claiming to be from the fraud department of their bank, tricking customers by using their personal information supplied to them through the fake website linked in the email.
Victims are then told their account has been compromised and 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 vic- tim of fraud, please report it to us.”
A spokesman for TV Licensing 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 bank 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.”
How to avoid falling foul of the scam
■ 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.
■ If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.