New year, new scams.
And lots of fun to look forward to from miscreants pretending to be the DVLA.
Even with an economy that has taken a battering and a pandemic sweeping the world, people are still crawling out of the woodwork to try and scam people out of their hard-earned cash.
In fact, the DVLA have seen the biggest rise in scams from July to September of 2020, with an incredible 531% increase in fraudulent behaviour when compared to the same three months of 2019. That’s an increase of 603 to 3,807 public complaints, which is quite a staggering amount.
Well, not on our watch!
Let us present to you (with pictures!), a few of the scams to look out for when it comes to the DVLA, and how best to avoid them.
Update Your Profile Scam
Certain DVLA scams will ask you to do things like “update your profile with the DVLA” or verify your driving license details. Some will even ask for you to update banking details. These types of messages are not to be trusted.
It might look legit, but there are a few things to take note of before replying and handing over personal information.
For example, the DVLA will never ask you to update your current profile, because for starters, there’s no such thing as a DVLA profile. Your license won’t ever be terminated for not updating your profile and the use of words like “motoring license” are a dead giveaway that the person sending you this message is not employed by the DVLA.
The use of “what happens next” is quite clever with this one as it puts your mind at ease as to what will happen if you do indeed click the big blue button.
If you click the link your computer is likely to receive a virus in return. Typical viruses in this instance will lead to having your personal information like email passwords, website autofill data, and banking information stolen. Alternatively, you might even click through yourself and willingly provide the details required to rob you blind.
The golden rule here is to stay calm, don’t panic, and think about what you’re reading. If you do this rather than acting out of pure instinct thanks to the fear that this kind of correspondence creates, you will more than likely surmise that it is indeed a scam and nothing to worry about.
If you receive a text with similar info to this, forward it to 7726 – The National Cyber Security Centre.
Unpaid Vehicle Tax Scam
This is another scam that has been doing the rounds in recent months, and it’s one that would give you quite a fright if you were to believe it’s legitimate. But again, if you stay calm and look for discrepancies, it won’t take long to find them.
For example, the use of 1000 GBP at the bottom of the image is a dead giveaway, as well as the incorrect use of capital letters in “Update” and “Information”.
Things like this make it clear that you’re dealing with a scam. The fact that the message uses language that is designed to make you panic or think you’re under time pressure to provide information is also a classic trick used by scammers.
It makes you think that you must act immediately so you act before thinking. This is exactly what the scammer wants, and the DVLA will never write to you in this fashion.
If you receive anything like the above, remember to stay calm. All you need to do is check your bank statement for direct debits that have come out. You’re likely to see that you have no failed direct debit payment, and you know you’re safe.
Then you simply report the message.
Here are a few more examples of this scam in action.
DVLA’s Top Tips to Avoid Scams
So, now we’ve covered some of the popular scams doing the rounds, let’s take a look at some tips and methods to use to avoid being caught out. Luckily for us, the good folk at the DVLA have put together a top five list of tips to make sure you don’t get scammed:
- Never share driving licence images and vehicle documents online
- Never share bank details or personal data online
- Avoid websites offering to connect to DVLA’s contact centre
- Only use GOV.UK when looking for DVLA contact details
- Immediately report it to the police through Action Fraud if you think you’ve been the victim of a scam.
Other Top Tips for Spotting a DVLA Scam
While these DVLA tips are handy, there are often a number of other tell-tale signs that an email or correspondence you’re receiving is in fact a scam, rather than legit.
For example, scammers want you to do something that benefits them. This is often clicking a link or sending them personal information they can use for fraudulent, criminal activities.
If you click a link in one of these emails, your computer is likely to download a virus or could be used to steal passwords and other sensitive data.
To avoid this, always check the email address of the sender by clicking on their name at the top of the email. Odds on they will have a strange email that ends with something like @irjsdlkj233838447. This should immediately raise alarm bells and is definitely a fake.
If a message says you MUST respond within a certain timeframe or that “enforcement action” might be taken, again, it’s pretty likely to be a scam. A good rule of thumb is that if a message makes you uncomfortable, threatened, or requires personal information instantly, then they are likely to be scammers. The best course of action is to ignore them and report them to the relevant authorities.
It’s also worth noting that asking for details is less common in email and text scams, and is more likely to happen over the phone. Here, scammers are more direct and will feel comfortable asking you to give them important security information such as banking details. Again, don’t fall for it, think calmly, and remember that you don’t have to respond and if they’re being pushy or demanding, they’re probably not from the DVLA.
Get in Touch
If you’ve been victim of a DVLA scam or have something to report, here’s a list of places to report and people to contact.
- Text scams should be forwarded (it’s free by the way) to the NCSC (The National Cyber Security Centre) at 7726
- If you’re unsure about an email you’ve received, forward it to the NCSC at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the Action Fraud department of the Police on 0300 123 2040 Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm.
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