A recent phishing scam aimed at motorists has been illegally trying to steal people’s personal details by sending emails that appear to be from the DVLA, offering a tax refund.

The email contains a message stating that the individual is due a refund of £239.35 as they have overpaid, and can apply for the money they are owed by completing an online form. They can reach this through a link included in the email. It goes on to say that the money will be in their account in four to six days.

Featuring the DVLA logo, the fonts that the agency uses, and even a sentence about reporting phishing scams, the email looks completely legitimate, which has led to some people clicking on the link and submitting their personal details. Those personal details are then used in various forms of financial and identity fraud, such as new credit card applications or fake passports.

Watch out for phishing scam emails

DVLA and police targeted

The DVLA has been used to carry out a phishing scam before. People were sent emails asking them to confirm their direct debit details. Some individuals received this message via texts to their mobile phones too.

In the past, motorists in Manchester were caught up in a phishing scam too. An email that seemed to be from Greater Manchester Police stated that they had been caught speeding. The email contained a link that the individual could click on to see photos of them committing the offence. However, when they clicked on the link it installed malware onto their computer, which could then access all of their personal information.

Other phishing scams aimed at motorists

It isn’t only the DVLA and police who have been used to try to steal personal details online. There was also a scam in which people who had advertised their vehicles on AutoTrader were contacted and told that their photos were being used in another advert, causing the ‘potential buyer’ confusion. A link to the other listing, which was featured in the email, would lead the individual to a log-in page. Once they had ‘logged in,’ their personal information was at risk.

In addition to phishing scams carried out via email and text message, some people are targeted via telephone calls. This has happened in the past, with scammers pretending to be from the Motor Insurance Bureau. In these calls, motorists were asked for their bank details so that they could be paid their compensation following a car accident. The compensation, of course, never arrived.

With these phishing scams taking place, and with them becoming more believable over time, it can be difficult to know exactly who to trust when it comes to receiving communications from what seem to be legitimate companies.

How to protect yourself

To protect yourself, you should never click on external links that are included in emails. Most companies would not send these out to their customers. In addition, you should only open attachments which come from a reliable source.

Remember that motoring organisations, the DVLA or the police will NEVER contact you to ask for your bank details out of the blue, whether by email or phone call.

If you suspect that you have been sent a phishing email or received a phishing call, contact the customer services team of the company concerned and ask them whether they have sent any communications to you. Making the company aware means that they can warn their other customers too.

By being vigilant, and knowing what to look out for, you can keep yourself safe from phishing scams, and help to protect others from them too.

 

What do you think of these recent phishing attacks aimed at motorists? Have you received one or do you know someone who has? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Photo credit: ‘Keys on Keyboard‘ by Intel Free Press is licensed under ‘CC by 2.0′

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