After a recent spate of fraudsters targeting motorists pretending to be from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the agency have warned drivers to watch out for online car tax scams.
Such scams see criminals send fake texts and emails to unsuspecting motorists in a bid to steal their personal information and bank details.
In the last three months of 2018 alone, DVLA received 1,275 reports of suspected vehicle tax scams.
In a bid to crack down and help motorists stay safe online, DVLA has released 7 tips to avoid becoming a victim of online car tax fraud:
1. Only use GOV.UK
When looking for information or using our online services, double check that you are using a GOV.UK webpage so that you can be sure that you’re dealing directly with DVLA.
2. Scam emails
DVLA never send emails that ask you to confirm your personal details or payment information. If you get anything like this, do not open any links and delete the email immediately.
3. Beware of misleading websites
Keep an eye out for potentially misleading third party websites. These sites will often offer to help you apply for a driving licence or tax your car but are likely to charge additional fees for services that you could get for free or at a lower cost on GOV.UK.
4. Look out for premium rate numbers
Look out for websites offering to connect you to DVLA’s contact centre, as they are usually premium rate numbers. DVLA contact centre numbers will only ever begin with 0300 – which costs the same as a local call.
5. Be mindful of what you share online
Never share images online of your driving licence and vehicle documents. This personal information could be invaluable to those looking to steal the identity of a vehicle or its owner.
DVLA never send texts about vehicle tax refunds. Text scams often ask you to follow a link to provide credit card details. Never click on the link and delete the text straight away.
7. Report any suspected scams
If you are concerned about any calls, texts, emails or suspicious online activity, you should report it to the police via Action Fraud immediately.
Dave Pope, Chief Information Security Officer at the DVLA, reiterated these tips and urged drivers to remain vigilant online to help avoid being caught out by one of these scams.
He said, “When looking for contact details or any of DVLA’s digital services, you should only use GOV.UK so you can be sure that you’re dealing directly with DVLA.
“Posting on social media is a way of life for most drivers, however they may not realise they risk setting themselves up as a prime target for fraudulent activity.
“People can stay ahead of the criminals by being vigilant with their personal information and who they share it with, and reporting anything suspicious to the Police via Action Fraud.”