The DVLA has urged motorists to be extra vigilant after it reported a huge rise in scams across the UK.
New figures compiled by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) revealed a 20% increase in online scams, with 1,538 reported scams during the last three months of 2019. The reports of scams were up from 1,275 in the same period in 2018.
Criminals have been using fake websites, email, text, and social media to target unsuspecting victims and con them out of money. The motoring agency noted that one of the most frequently used tactics is a text message informing the recipient they’re due a refund for an overpayment on their account.
The crooks know that the prospect of a refund can prove particularly enticing for an individual, and if they use the DVLA branding or the words ‘gov’ or ‘UK’ within the link, it can be enough to trick the victim into thinking it’s a legitimate request.
The report also showed that fraudsters have been targeting customers with links to services that don’t even exist including fake driver and vehicle documents for sale on the internet. Each scam is just a front for conning motorists out of cash or stealing their personal details.
David Pope, chief information security officer at the DVLA, commented: “We’ve released examples of real-life scams to help motorists understand when a scam is at work. These websites and messages are designed to trick people into believing they can access services that simply don’t exist such as removing penalty points from driving licences.
“All our tax refunds are generated automatically after a motorist has told us they have sold, scrapped or transferred their vehicle to someone else so we don’t ask for anyone to get in touch with us to claim their refund. We want to protect the public and if something seems too good to be true, then it almost certainly is. The only trusted source of DVLA information is GOV.UK.”
How to Avoid DVLA Scams
- Only use GOV.UK. – To ensure that you’re dealing directly with the DVLA, always check that you’re using an official GOV.UK webpage.
- Scam emails – The DVLA will never send emails asking you to confirm your personal details or provide payment information. If you receive an email requesting this information, do not click on any links and delete immediately.
- Scam websites – Keep an eye out for potentially misleading third-party websites. These sites will often offer to help you apply for a driving licence or tax your car, but they’ll charge additional fees for services that you could get for free or at a lower cost on GOV.UK.
- Texts – The DVLA will never send texts about vehicle tax refunds. Scam texts are sent by fraudsters to deliver malicious links and steal personal data. Do not click on any links within the text and delete immediately.
- Be careful of what you share online – Never share images of your driving licence and vehicle documents online. This personal information could be used to commit identity theft or sold on to criminal third parties.
- Avoid premium rate numbers – DVLA contact centre numbers will only ever begin with 0300 – which costs the same as a local call.
- Report suspected scams – If you’re concerned about any suspicious calls, texts, emails or online activity, you should report it to the police via Action Fraud.
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