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.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!