Scamwatch: TV Licence fraud

Fraudsters have come up with a cunning new scam

Young woman watching television, rear view

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, we explain how crafty criminals are tricking people into thinking they are due a TV Licence fee refund.

How does it work?

There has been a sharp rise in the number of people contacting Action Fraud about bogus e-mails purporting to come from TV Licensing.

Sent by fraudsters, the emails claim to be offering people a refund for over-payments of TV Licence fees, but are in fact designed to steal victims' bank account details.

Those receiving the emails are told they must update their bank details to benefit from the refund, and are directed to a fake website that looks like the real TV Licensing website. Here they are told to fill in their details on an online form.

Anyone who enters their bank details gives the criminals behind the scam everything they need to steal money from their accounts.

How can I avoid being caught out?

TV Licensing does not contact anyone by e-mail to offer refunds, so you should ignore any emails on the subject.

Action Fraud is also urging those who receive such messages not to open any attachments or links within the e-mail text due to concerns about dodgy links being used to download malware that can be used to steal people's personal information from their computers.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

It is vital to change any passwords and login details that may have been made available to hackers immediately to prevent the criminals accessing your accounts.

If you think you may have clicked on a dodgy link, you should also conduct a malware check using an online virus scanner such as the Microsoft Safety Scanner.

Then report the problem to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).