Phishing scammers continue to use fake TV licensing notification emails to trick UK residents into divulging their personal and financial information.
In the version discussed here, the scam email claims that you have an overdue balance that must be paid immediately. It claims that your account has been suspended and your details may be passed on to a debt collection agency if you don’t pay up.
At first glance, the email may look genuine. However, TV Licensing did not send the email and the claims about an overdue payment are false.
Here’s what the scam email looks like.
If you are taken in by the scam and click the “Pay Now” button, you will be taken to a fraudulent website that features what is supposedly a payment update form.
The bogus form first asks for your name and contact details and your mother’s maiden name. It then asks for your credit card details and other financial information before performing a phony “confirmation” check.
All of the information you submit on the fake site will be sent to criminals and subsequently used to steal your identity and commit credit card fraud.
As phishing scams go, this version is quite a sophisticated attempt.
However, one quick way to identify the email as fraudulent is that it does not address you by name. Information on the official TV Licensing website notes:
Genuine TV Licensing emails will always use your title and last name. Scammers may simply use your email address, or say ‘Dear Customer’ or nothing at all.
Moreover, the genuine TV Licensing website has the URL (web address) “www.tvlicensing.co.uk”. If links in an email open a website with a different URL, then you have been taken to a scam page and should exit immediately. Note the fake URL in the above screenshot.
Be aware that, sometimes, the fake sites may have quite similar URLs to that of the genuine website. For example, they may use an alternative spelling for “licensing”. Or they may use the correct spelling, but add extra words to the URL. These differences can be easy to miss at first glance.
There has been an ongoings series of such TV Licensing scam emails in recent years. Be wary of any supposed TV Licensing email that claims that there is a problem with your payment, you are eligible for a refund, or there is an account issue that you must rectify.
If you receive such an email, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains. It is always safer to log in to your online accounts by entering the address into your browser’s address bar rather than by clicking a link in an email or text message.
TV Licensing has more information about identifying scam messages on its website.