The body responsible for car tax and vehicle licensing has warned drivers to be on the lookout for new phishing scams this new year.
Phishing scams dupe innocent victims into handing over personal details such as bank information, often by sending messages claiming to be from a legitimate company or organisation.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has recently released images of the type of scam messages purporting to be from it and trying to fool drivers into handing over personal data or making payments to the fraudsters.
Criminals use email and text messages to pose as the DVLA and divert victims to fraudulent websites to enter their personal and bank details. The messages usually claim either that a driver has overpaid their car tax and is due a refund or that there has been a problem with a tax payment and they need to log into the fake website to update their information.
The DVLA has also reported seeing scam messages that claim there is a problem with their licence information. Handing over data like this can help criminals committing identity fraud.
Last year there was a massive rise in the number of drivers reporting suspected fraud to the DVLA. In the three months to September 2020, the agency saw a 603 per cent increase in reported cases compared with the same period a year earlier.
Phil Morgan, head of fraud policy investigation at DVLA, said: “These recent scams may at first seem legitimate, however they are designed to trick motorists into providing their personal details. We never ask for bank or credit card details via text message or email, so if you receive something like this, it’s a scam.”
What to do if you’ve been targeted by a phishing scam
Anyone who has received a suspicious email is being urged to report to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) via their suspicious email service: [email protected] Suspicious texts can also be forwarded free of charge to your network provider on 7726. You can also report it to Action Fraud or police if you think you have fallen victim to such a scam.
As well as forwarding any suspicious emails and texts, DVLA has five top tips for motorists to stay safe online:
Never share driving licence images and vehicle documents onlineNever share bank details or personal data onlineAvoid websites offering to connect to DVLA’s contact centreOnly use GOV.UK when looking for DVLA contact detailsImmediately report it to the police via Action Fraud if you think you have been the victim of a scam