Warning over TV Licence email scam that could con you into handing over bank details after HUGE jump in complaints

CONSUMERS are being urged to beware a TV licence email that scammers are sending in a bid to CON you out of your cash.

The warning comes as complaints about TV licence scam emails have risen by a whopping 19,730 per cent in the past year.

In January 2018, crime reporting agency Action Fraud received just 10 complaints. But this rocketed to 1,983 complaints in December.

Over the entire year, 6,861 complaints were recorded with a huge spike in the last four months of 2018.

These so-called "phishing" scams aim to look as realistic as possible in a bid to get hold of your personal and financial details or to get you to make payments.

The BBC says Leesa Hellings-Lamb, from Bolton, nearly fell for the scam. She told the broadcaster that she was sent an "incredibly realistic" email from what she thought was the TV Licensing company.

How to spot a fake email or text message from TV Licensing

THESE tips from Action Fraud could keep you safe from fraudsters:

  • Never answer an unsolicited email from TV Licensing – the organisation will never email you, unprompted, to tell you that you’re entitled to a refund or ask for bank details/personal information.
  • Check the email contains your name – TV licensing will always include your name in any emails it sends you.
  • Check the email subject line – anything along the lines of "Action required", "Security Alert", "System Upgrade", "There is a secure message waiting for you", and so on, should be treated as suspect.
  • Check the email address – does the email address look like one that TV Licensing use? For example [email protected]. Look closely as often the address may be similar.
  • Check for a change in style – often the scammers will take the real emails and amend them. Look out for changes in the wording used, especially if it seems too casual or familiar.
  • Check for spelling and grammar – are there any spelling mistakes, missing full stops or other grammatical errors?
  • Check the links go to the TV Licensing website – hover over the links in the email to see their destination and check the web address carefully. If you are not sure, go directly to the TV Licensing website.

It claimed that her TV licence was due to expire in two days, so she followed the link in the email and began entering her bank details.

She says she only became "suspicious" when she was asked for "too much information". Luckily, she stopped entering her details before it was too late.

A spokesperson for Action Fraud said: “Devious fraudsters are constantly using new tactics to trick victims into handing over their personal information, often with devastating consequences.

"This is particularly nasty as it looks so convincing."

If you think you've been a victim of fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud via its website or by calling 0300 123 2040.

You should also contact your bank or credit card provider immediately if you think money has been stolen or your details have been fraudulently used.

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Action Fraud warned in November that fake TV licensing emails and texts could trick you into handing over bank details.

TV Licensing urged tens of thousands of customers to check their bank statements in September after a data security breach.

Here's a round-up of what the TV licence is and whether you can get it for free.

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