The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has issued a warning to motorists about new scam text messages and emails designed to trick car owners into giving out their bank details.
In a post on social media website Twitter, the DVLA showed a screengrab of the message, which claims that a vehicle tax payment has failed and the owner could face a fine of £1,000 if they don’t update their bank details.
It then requests for the recipient to follow a link to a rogue website to enter account information in the latest in a wave of elaborate phishing scams masquerading as the DVLA.
Scam alert: The DVLA warned motorists not to fall victim to a new text message and email that tells drivers they have made a failed tax payment and that they need to update their personal information or else face a fine
The DVLA’s post, showing a message sent to a motorist, said: ‘DVLA does not send text messages telling you that your vehicle tax payment has failed.
‘If you receive a message like this, it’s a #scam.’
The fraudulent text – which even shows to be sent from the DVLA – reads: ‘Your latest vehicle tax payment failed. It appears that some of the billing details associated with you might have expired or were otherwise changed.
‘Our system will automatically retry the billing process once your billing details have been updated.
‘It can take up to five working days for the records to update.’
This is followed by a link to the phony site.
It concludes: ‘Please note: If you don’t pay your vehicle tax on time you can be fined up to £1,000, or your details passed to a debt collection agency.’
In a statement, the DVLA says: ‘We don’t send emails or text messages that ask you to confirm your personal details or payment information, such as for a vehicle tax refund.
‘If you get anything like this, don’t open any links and delete the email or text immediately.’
It also added that drivers need to be cautious when searching on Google that a website claiming to be the DVLA is genuine.
‘Beware of misleading third party websites passing themselves off as DVLA,’ it said.
‘These sites might, for example, offer to help you apply for a driving licence, tax your car or connect you to our contact centre.
‘These sites will often charge additional fees for services that you can get for free or at a lower cost on GOV.UK.
‘To try and pass themselves off as genuine, these sites might include “DVLA” in their web address (URL).
‘They might also design their site to appear as if it’s DVLA – for example, using DVLA’s old “green triangle” logo, which we no longer use.
‘Don’t be fooled by these sites – even if they appear at the top of search engine results. Always double check you’re using GOV.UK.’
The DVLA said the communication was also being sent out via email to drivers. It said it will never request personal information via a text or email
The DVLA’s official Twitter account sent a follow-up post on Tuesday showing examples of previous scams attempting to fool motorists into thinking they were being contacted by the government agency.
The post, which had four separate bogus email and texts said: ‘Beware of vehicle tax #scams like these and remember, the only place to find government information and services is http://www.gov.uk.’
As the tweet shows, this isn’t the first time the the government agency has had to make motorists aware of fraudulent messages sent by criminals pretending to be official communications.
This is Money was contacted by a reader last year about a text message from scammers stating that the DVLA, based in Swansea, was trying to get hold of her regarding tax.
The message included a link to a phony website that was believed to have malware – a type of virus that lurks in your device to steal information, such as bank log-in details.
Some six months prior, we also highlighted a scam email that feigned to be from the DVLA telling motorists they were due a refund on their car tax.
Again, the email included a link to a web form that is designed to collect personal information from unwitting recipients.
And back in 2014, another email was sent to drivers asking them to verify their driving licence details.
The message asked recipients to click a link in the email which leads them to an online form to fill in their personal information.
The fraudsters could use these to steal from the unwitting motorist’s bank account or copy their identity.
In all cases, the DVLA advises anyone who receives these email to ignore them and delete them immediately.
DVLA tips for protecting yourself from scam communications
- Only use GOV.UK so you can be sure that you’re dealing directly with DVLA.
- Never share images on social media that contain personal information, such as your driving licence and vehicle documents.
- Report online scams to Action Fraud.
- Report misleading adverts to search engines.
- Keep up to date with internet safety – read more about online scams and phishing, and how to stay safe online.
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