The DVLA has issued a new guide to help drivers stay safe from fraud on the internet.
Motorists are being increasingly targeted by cyber criminals, with everything from fake car tax refunds to fraudulent sales and cloning all being used to defraud unsuspecting drivers.
Last week the DVLA warned drivers not to fall for a fake message claiming that there had been a problem with their car tax payment, and in the last three months of 2017 the licencing body received almost 1,300 complaints regarding suspected web, email, text or social media scams.
To coincide with Safer Internet Day, the DVLA has issued a new series of tips to ensure you don’t fall for scammers posing as a government agency.
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. Look out for scam emails
The DVLA never sends 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 the DVLA’s contact centre, as they are usually premium rate numbers. The 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.
6. Don’t fall for fake texts
As with emails, the DVLA never sends 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, 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, the UK’s reporting centre for all 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 think you have been a victim of fraud, you can report it using Action Fraud’s online reporting tool or by phoning 0300 123 2040.