According to Action Fraud, all forms of cyber fraud cost victims around £34.6 million between April and September last year
With new online scams cropping up all the time, motorists have increasingly become a target for fraudsters. DVLA has revealed their contact centre received 1,275 reports regarding suspected vehicle tax scams during the last 3 months of 2018.
On Safer Internet Day, DVLA has provided the following tips for drivers, to stay safe online without exposing themselves to cyber-security threats. These include organised car thefts, which are happening with more regularity due to the advancement of keyless car technology – Open Access Government interviewed a victim of car-theft here.
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
We 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 our contact centre, as they are usually premium rate numbers. Our 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.
We 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 DVLA, 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.
A spokesperson for Action Fraud said:
“We know that fraudsters are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, and so it is important that members of the public think about their online behaviour and ensure that they do everything they can to protect themselves.
Taking measures such as limiting the amount of personal information shared on social media platforms and being cautious of any unsolicited messages received can help to prevent online crime.
You should always be cautious when sharing personal information online. Always check that who you dealing with really is who they claim to be – for example, by only using GOV.UK when accessing government services online, such as the DVLA.”
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please report it us via our online reporting tool or by phone 0300 123 2040.