TV viewers are being urged to stay alert for a scam email claiming to be from the TV Licencing company that’s tricked victims out of a whopping £830,000.
Since April 2018, national crime reporting agency Action Fraud says it’s received over 900 crime reports about the con.
Getty – Contributor Action Fraud says around 900 people have lost a combined £830,000 to scam TV Licencing emails
In addition to crime reports, Action Fraud says it’s recorded 6,861 complaints about the fraud across 2018 – with a large spike from September onwards.
Between April and August last year, between 40 and 76 complaints a month were recorded.
But between September and December this monthly complaints figure jumps by up to 1,805 – a whopping 4,412 per cent increase.
In the emails, fraudsters claim that TV Licencing has been trying to get hold of them about refunding an overpayment – sometimes saying they’ve got the incorrect bank details on file.
Links to claim this supposed refund then lead to cloned TV Licencing websites that are designed to steal your bank account, credit card and other personal details.
How to protect yourself from fraudstersACTION Fraud has the following advice for consumers:
Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
Don’t assume a phone call or email is authentic, even if someone knows your basic details, such as your name or address. Remember, criminals can spoof phone numbers and email addresses to appear as companies you know and trust, such as TV Licensing.
Your bank will never call and ask you for your PIN, full banking password, or ask you to transfer money out of your account.
Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, said: “We are continuing to see reports of fraudsters using fake TV Licensing emails to hook victims in and trick them into parting with their money.
“These fraudsters are very confident and extremely convincing, often using personal details to give the impression they are legitimate.
“We don’t want any more people to fall victim.”
How to watch TV legally without paying for a licenceIN the UK, any household watching or recording live television must hold a TV licence.In recent years, this has been extended to include BBC programmes on iPlayer, whether they are live, catch up or on demand. But does everyone really need a licence? Here’s the lowdown on how to avoid paying – legally.
On demand TV – like catch-up TV and on demand previews – which are available through services like ITV Player , All4 , My5 , BT Vision/BT TV , Virgin Media , Sky Go , Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast , Roku and Amazon Fire TV
On demand movies – from services like Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video
Recorded films and programmes – either via DVD or Blu-ray, or downloaded from the internet
YouTube – On demand video clips through services like YouTube
If you think you have been tricked out of your cash, tell your bank or credit provider as soon as possible and continue to monitor your accounts and credit reports for unusual activity.
You should also report the scam to Action Fraud via its website or by calling 0300 123 2040.
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Millions face losing their free TV licences because the BBC may hike the age threshold by five years.
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