On April 7, TV Licencing issued the following warning: “If you’re ever unsure about a communication you’ve received from TV Licensing, it’s always best to ask someone – perhaps a friend, family member, or for more help, please visit http://tvl.co.uk/scam. STOP CHECK ASK”.
Fortunately, TV Licencing provides guidance on what the main giveaway elements are of email and text based scams.
Consumers should look out for the following:
- “Scammers often hide the true email address they’re using, check the email address. On your device, select the sender’s name (or email address) to show the actual email address.
- “Scam emails often tell you that you need to make an urgent payment. We only email customers about payments if they have missed one. You can sign in to your account to check.
- “They often say you can get a refund or a cheaper licence. We will never do this unless you have contacted us about a refund and we are replying to you.
- “Scam emails may show a fake licence number. Your licence number is on letters we send you, or search your email inbox for emails from ‘email@example.com’ (or ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’).
- “We won’t ask for: Your mother’s maiden name, your date of birth (unless you’re over 74 and applying for a free TV Licence), your card details to make a missed payment UNTIL you’ve signed in using your licence number, surname and postcode.
- “[For texts] We’ll never: Send you a text message to tell you you’re entitled to a refund, ask you to set up a payment plan or provide your bank details by text message, ask you to enter any personal details into our website until you’ve successfully signed into your licence”
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TV Licensing went on to break down how both email and text scams can be reported.
Email scams and/or suspicious messages can be sent to email@example.com and they will then be investigated.
For texts, screenshots of the dubious messages should be taken and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
tvlicensing.co.uk also has detailed guidance on phone and letter based scams.
Boris Johnson was recently called on to take action on scams in general as more issues emerge on an almost weekly basis.
Quilter, the wealth manager, wrote to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Digital and Culture in mid-April to call for investment and other financial scams to be included within the scope of the forthcoming Online Safety Bill.
Quilter detailed it had seen “first-hand” the ease with which scammers can impersonate regulated financial services firms to promote fraudulent adverts on search engines, and believes the Government must heed calls from numerous consumer groups, trade associations and MPs to include scams in scope of the Bill.
This is an important area to cover as both Action Fraud and the FCA have demonstrated that financial scams costs UK savers millions.
Paul Feeney, the CEO of Quilter, commented on this: “The way people search for investment opportunities is changing, with more and more people going online and on social media for tips on where to put their money.
“But the regulation of the internet isn’t yet fit for the 21st century, and consumers are paying the price.
“Consumers need greater protections from scams, and the Government can achieve this by including scams in the Online Safety Bill so that tech companies have a legal responsibility to ensure that their users are not exposed to financial harm.
“Search engines are having their cake and eating it by taking money to host adverts from both the regulator and the scammers themselves. Something has to change to stop this ludicrous situation, and the Online Safety Bill is the ideal time to take decisive action.”