Warn­ing on TV li­cence fraud­sters

Burton Mail - - News - By BETH PRIDDING [email protected]­plc.com @beth­prid­ding

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.

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