Fraudsters have pocketed more than £230, 000 from victims through a fake TV Licensing scam.
Scammers are sending out fake emails claiming to be from the broadcasting authority in a bid to steal customers’ personal information.
Some 200 incidents were reported nationwide in December alone, with victims reporting a total loss of £233,455.
The messages claim either refunds are due or there are issues with payments.
The emails are often titled something like ‘correct your licensing information’, ‘billing information updates’ or ‘renew now’ to trick people into clicking on a link.
Within a week or two, the victim then receives a phone call from the scammers claiming to be from the fraud department of a bank.
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Fraudsters are convincing victims they are genuine banking staff by using the personal details they unwittingly provided through the fake website.
The fraudsters then claim the victim’s account has been compromised and they need to transfer money to a new ‘safe account’.
Action Fraud, the Government’s national cybercrime reporting centre, urged members of the public to be vigilant.
Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, said: “Bank staff and police officers will never ask you to move money to a safe account.
“It is also important that you never click on links in emails you were not expecting.
“If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please report it us.”
In a statement, TV Licensing said: “We’re continuing to work closely with Action Fraud to raise awareness of the scam emails circulating to the public, posing as genuine TV Licensing communications.
“TV Licensing will never email customers, unprompted, to ask for bank details, personal information or tell you that you may be entitled to a refund.
Anyone who has provided their details as a result of a fraudulent email should report it to Action Fraud. If they have provided bank details, they should call their bank urgently.
“TV Licensing offers helpful information on scam emails at the following link: www.tvlicensing.co.uk/scam.”
Contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.