Be cautious of the TV licence scam


Financial Crime

We seem to have been hearing a lot about television at the moment – you now need a TV licence to watch BBC iPlayer from September, and the Great British Bake Off is in the process of moving to Channel 4.

Fraudsters like to pick up on any current trend to confuse their victims and get their hands on their bank account details. And that's exactly what's been happening with their latest scam – the TV licence scam.

To make sure you don't fall for a scam like this, we're going to take you through the details of the scam and how to spot it.

Bogus emails

Criminals have been sending out fake emails supposedly from TV Licensing claiming that victims are due a refund for overpayments. In a bid to get the bank account details of the victim, the email states that their bank details need to be updated before a refund can be issued.

The email links to a site made to look like the TV Licensing's official website and features a form for the victim to enter their details. The form may look authentic but it's just a tool to help the fraudster's get their hands on your bank details and access your account.  

ActionFraud report that there has been a sharp rise in the number of people getting in touch about these bogus emails in recent weeks. This isn't the only email scam that's been doing the rounds lately either – scammers have been targeting Apple and Netflix customers with a similar phishing scam.

What to look out for

The first thing to note is that TV Licensing will never contact you by email concerning refunds – so if you think you may be due a refund, apply via the official TV Licensing website.

To help you spot this scam and other phishing emails scams, we're going to take you through some of the common giveaways.

• Grammatical errors or spelling mistakes are tell-tale signs of a fake email – so look out for these.

• Check the email address that the email was sent from. It may say that it's from TV Licensing but that doesn't mean it's not been sent from an unofficial address – click the address bar to find this out.

• Never open links or attachments on an email you don't recognise. You can find out the true destination of the URL by hovering over the link to discover where it's really taking you.

• Fraudsters tend to start their emails will generic greetings such as "Dear customer" or "Dear member" as they tend to send these emails out in bulk. If you receive an email with a generic greeting, check it through thoroughly.

• Always follow your instincts – if something doesn't quite look right, it probably isn't.

Think you've already fallen for this scam? You can report it to Action Fraud using their online reporting tool and receive a police crime reference number.

Get an email that you're not sure about? You can always send it to [email protected] and we’ll let you know if it’s genuine or not.

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