Victims report losing over £200,000 as fraudsters claim to be from TV Licensing

Fraudsters are sending people a wave of fake TV Licensing emails in order to steal their personal information and trick them into handing over cash.

Action Fraud said it has received more than 5,000 reports about fake emails and texts claiming to be from TV Licensing.

In December 2018 alone, 200 crime reports were made to Action Fraud in relation to fake TV Licensing emails, with victims reporting a total loss of £233,455.

Victims are initially hooked in by being tricked into clicking links on fake emails about their TV licence.

The emails may contain phrases such as “correct your licensing information”, “billing information updates” and “renew now”.

After they have provided their personal details, fraudsters call them up a couple of weeks later, claiming to be from the fraud department of the victim’s bank.

Fraudsters are convincing victims they are genuine banking staff by using the personal details that the victim provided through the fake website.

The fraudsters claim the victim’s account has been compromised, possibly by a phishing scam they may have fallen victim to recently, and that they need to transfer their money to a new “safe account”.

In December 2018 alone, 200 crime reports were made to Action Fraud in relation to TV Licensing emails, with victims reporting a total loss of £233,455.

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 victim of fraud, please report it to us.”

A statement from 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.”

TV Licensing offers information on scam emails at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/scam.

Here are Action Fraud’s tips for protecting yourself:

1. Never answer unsolicited emails from TV Licensing. The organisation will never email you, unprompted, to tell you that you are entitled to a refund or ask for bank details/personal information.

2. Do not assume a phone call or email is authentic. Just because someone knows your basic details such as your name or address, it does not mean they are genuine. Criminals can easily spoof the phone numbers and email addresses of companies you know and trust.

3. 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.

4. Your bank will never call and ask you for your Pin, full banking password, or ask you to transfer money out of your account.

5. If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, let your bank know as soon as possible and monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity and report it to Action Fraud.

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