Action Fraud have issued a warning for people to delete unsolicited emails that requests for your personal or financial information.
The warning comes after 5,000 reports of fake emails and texts were purporting to be from the TV License Agency.
The message, thought to contain a genuine looking link to a highly convincing website, which is then designed to steal personal and financial information.
Throughout December and even over the festive period, it is thought this SCAM has cost its victims over £233,455.
In total 200 crime reports were made to Action Fraud about the fake licensing emails.
How the scam works
Back in October 2018 Action Fraud did warn the public about TV Licensing phishing emails, following reports that large amounts were received by their phishing tool, which can be found at:
The licensing emails are just the start of fraud, in which the primary goal is get people to hand over personal information.
Criminals were calling victims claiming to be from their bank and convincing them to part with money.
A Trojan Horse
The email initially is disguised as a refund, and some subjects could include ‘correct your licensing information’, ‘billing information updates’ and ‘renew now’, all emails contained a link to a website.
Once you clicked on the link within a week or two the victim receives a phone call from the fraudster claiming to be from the fraud department of the victims bank.
As a result of you completing the form on the website, the fraudster uses your personal information to convince you the call is genuine.
The fraudster will then go on to advise you that your bank account has been compromised, possibly by a phishing scam, and that they need to transfer the money into a safe account.
How you can protect yourself from fraudulent emails
- Never answer or even open any unsolicited emails from TV license. This organisations will never email you, unprompted to tell you you’re entitled to a refund or ask for bank details.
- Never assume a phone call or email is authentic. A person may know some basic information such as your name and address, however this does not mean the caller or email sender is genuine. Always be on your guard.
- Delete any emails that request personal or financial information, and never click on any links or attachments within the email.
- Lastly, your bank will never call you to ask for your PIN or to transfer your money into a safe account, they will also never ask you for your full password or other security information.
How to respond if you do fall victim
- Contact your bank, immediately and monitor your bank statements for any unusual activity.
- If you suspect someone has stolen your identity, check your credit file quickly. Ideally you will already be doing this using a reputable provider such as Experian or Clear Score for any unexpected results.
- Report it to Action Fraud online, every report that you file means less people will be affected by the fraud or scam. You can report it online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
In a statement about the scams a TV Licensing spokes person 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.”