As scammers become more sophisticated with their techniques, being aware of scams and how to spot them has never been more important.
Drivers are currently being warned about a convincing DVLA scam email that seeks to trick you into thinking you haven’t paid for your vehicle tax.
This is everything you need to know - and what to do if you’ve received one of these emails.
What’s the scam?
The scam involves drivers receiving an email that informs them that their latest vehicle tax payment has failed.
The email is professionally worded and tells the recipient that it appears that “some of the billing details associated with you might have expired or were otherwise changed”. They are then encouraged to click on a link to “update and verify” their billing details.
Recipients are then also warned that if they fail to pay their vehicle tax on time, they can be fined up to £1,000, or that their details could be passed on to a debt collection agency. Of course, clicking on the link provided would allow for scammers to steal your details.
The DVLA says, “We never send emails that ask you to confirm your personal details or payment information.
“If you get anything like this, do not open any links and delete the email immediately.”
Do scammers have access to my DVLA information?
When the scam first was brought to the attention of Which?, the organisation’s consumer rights expert Amelia Wade got in touch with the DVLA to ask about the scam.
Wade said, “The DVLA assured us its systems are secure, built to government standards and checked regularly for any vulnerabilities.
“It is, however, good practice to regularly clear your browsing data, keep your browser up to date, ensure you’ve got a good antivirus software and have good password hygiene.”
Wade added that because scammers are becoming increasingly convincing, you should trust your spam filters and take a minute to pause and think if you’re being asked to input any payment details after following a URL in the email.
How do I stay safe online?
The DVLA has previously released tips to help motorists stay safe online:
- Only use GOV.UK when looking for information or services online to ensure you’re dealing directly with the DVLA and not a third party website
- The DVLA will never ask for you to confirm personal details or payment information via email - so delete the email and do not click on any links
- The DVLA will also never send texts about vehicle tax refunds
- Beware of misleading websites
What should I do if I’ve been sent a scam email?
If you’ve received a suspicious looking email, the main thing is not to click on any links that are included in the email.
If you are concerned about any calls, texts, emails or suspicious online activity, you should report it to the police via Action Fraud immediately.
A spokesperson for Action Fraud said, “We know that fraudsters are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, and so it is important that members of the public think about their online behaviour and ensure that they do everything they can to protect themselves.”
You can report any fraudulent activity to Action Fraud either by using their online reporting tool, or calling on 0300 123 2040.