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Spotting TV Licence scams

Be cautious about any emails from TV Licensing that ask you to update your personal or banking details. There are numerous reports of people receiving scams.

Have you entered your details in response to a TV Licence scam?

Report it to Action Fraud or call them on 0300 123 2040. If you provided your bank account details, talk to your bank immediately.

With the BBC announcing they are scrapping free TV licences, there may be an opportunity for scammers.
But the BBC have said no one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by a letter from TV Licensing and either claimed a free licence or agreed a payment plan. We will let you know when the BBC send out their official letters and tell you what they look like. For now, if you are over 75 please ignore any emails or letters you receive asking you to pay your TV licence as they may be a scam.
You can find more information here.

What is the TV Licence scam?

These emails are a phishing scam, a common type of email fraud where scammers will send bogus emails pretending to be from a respectable organisation. This is to trick you into clicking through to a fake website where you will enter your personal details.

For this scam, the emails are disguised to look like they have been sent by the TV Licensing organisation.

They may say you're entitled to a refund for an overpayment or warn that your licence is about to expire. They will then ask you to respond by entering your bank details on a fake website.

Although the emails may use the TV Licensing logo and have other features that make them look authentic, you should never trust them.

How to spot this scam?

There are a few common signs that you shouldn't trust an email:

  1. The sender has an unusual email address
    The TV Licensing organisation will use donotreply@tvlicensing.co.uk (or donotreply@spp.tvlicensing.co.uk) to email you. The scammers cannot send emails using these addresses. Instead, they may come from a personal email account or one which looks unusual.
  2. The email doesn't use your name or has an incorrect account number
    TV Licensing will usually include your name in their emails unless you told them you don't need a licence and didn't provide a name. The scammers may insert an incorrect customer ID in the hope that you will not check that it's wrong.
  3. It contains spelling and grammatical errors and inconsistent styles
    Although all writers can make mistakes, it's common to find grammatical and spelling errors on phishing emails. They may also seem too casual or unusually formal or use colours and styles that are inconsistent with the organisation's style.

Our infographic can help you spot a suspicious email

What should I do if I get this email?

If you see this suspicious email, don't reply with your details or open any links or documents. Delete it straight away.

You can report the phishing attempt to Action Fraud. Not all reports will be investigated, but every report will help Action Fraud better understand the scale of a problem and the methods that scammers are using.

If you're still unsure, you can contact the TV Licensing company directly using the phone number that is on the official TV Licensing website.

What should I do if I've been a victim of a scam?

If you've been the victim of a scam, remember that you're not alone. Scams are increasingly common and many people are caught out. Here are some tips on what you should do next:

  • If you suspect you’ve lost money in a fraud, contact your bank or building society. They can cancel any cards or freeze your account.
  • Report the crime to Action Fraud either through their website or on the phone 0300 123 2040.

If you still feel concerned, you can speak to someone at Age UK. Call our advice line on 800 678 1602 (it's free to call and open from 8am to 7pm, 365 days a year) or contact your local Age UK.

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Last updated: Jul 09 2020

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