A phishing scam using TV licence renewal as bait has been circulating email inboxes around the UK, driving 5,057 complaints according to Action Fraud.
The email, which tricks people into opening it with headings about licence expiry and incorrect information, leads victims through to a page where they’re required to enter their account number, sort code and card verification number – everything needed for scammers to steal money from innocent victims.
In some cases, the page asks for more information that could be used for identity theft or future social engineering, including a name, date of birth, address, phone number, email address and mother’s maiden name.
The emails themselves look worryingly convincing, and headlines like “correct your licensing information” and “your TV licence expires today” feel suitably formal, too. A spokesperson for TV Licencing was quite clear, however: “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 Licencing’s phishing section of its FAQ has been updated with details of the latest scam, and it’s unequivocal in its instructions: “If you receive a similar email message, please delete it. If you have already clicked the link, do not enter or submit any information.
This isn’t the first time the TV licence has been used as the bait in a phishing campaign. Back in 2017, Action Fraud heard from more than 200 people who have received fake emails promising them a rebate on their licence fee, if they just entered their bank details. Suffice it to say that those that did found themselves losing money, rather than gaining it.
TV Licensing will never:
- email you to tell you that you’re entitled to a refund.
- ask you to pay additional money for our services, e.g. when you’re buying a licence or changing your details.
If you do fall victim to an online shopping scam, report what happened to Action Fraud online or via 0300 123 2040.
If you have fallen victim to a local trader, contact Warwickshire Trading Standards, via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040 506.
You can also receive support from Warwickshire Victim Support, on 01926 682 693, following any cyber crime.