Last year the National Cyber Security Centre and the City of London Police set up an email reporting tool; it’s been used 5.8 million times!  

The Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) allows all of us to forward suspicious emails and so far the tool has helped to remove 43k scams and 84k malicious websites. 

In last month’s blog we gave general information about phishing emails and how to avoid security breaches. Here we give a specific example of a scam where most of us have been targeted. 

£5.3 million losses were made to TV Licence scams! 

How many of us have received ‘that’ email making us aware that our TV licence bank details are incorrect? Vast swathes of the population, no doubt. The emails look genuine. And the majority of us do not have our finger on the pulse of our TV licence details. Yes, we have to pay it, but the amount is non-negotiable, we don’t have a choice of provider, so we just accept that we need it and pay up; no need to take time out to look at comparison websites, for example.  

How easy is it to be taken in by the email, quickly clicking on links and inputting personal information? Before you know it you’ve given away information and could then face a phone call letting you know that your bank account has been compromised and that you need to transfer all your money. 

As we sit and read this everything can seem so black and white. “Of course, I wouldn’t fall for this,” we hear you say. And yes, fortunately most of us are wising up to the scammers. But they are VERY convincing and substantial losses have been made. 

Plus, it’s worth keeping in mind that the over 75s now need a TV licence, so there are even more opportunities for cyber criminals to strike, especially since many elderly folks communicate via email. Additionally, criminals aren’t just using email; text message, telephone calls, letters and even home visits are taking place. 

How to spot the TV licence email scam 

  • The sender has an unusual email address. The TV Licensing organisation will use [email protected] (or [email protected]) to email you. 
  • The email doesn’t use your name or has an incorrect account number. 
  • It may well contain spelling and grammatical errors and inconsistent styles (although don’t rely on this as a gauge – the email could appear perfect). 

What should you do if you get this scam email?

  • Report it via SERS using [email protected]. Whilst not all reports are investigated, they do help to paint a picture of the scale of a problem. 
  • Delete the email straight away. 
  • If you’re still concerned, contact the TV licensing company directly. 

If you’re a victim 

  • If you suspect you’ve lost money contact your bank or building society. 
  • Report the crime to Action Fraud .

For more information on phishing it’s worth watching Rupert’s video and please do get in touch with Net Primates if you’re concerned. We place IT Security at the core of IT provision – without it the best IT kit and business systems can be deemed worthless. Also, consider using Office 365 Enhanced Security by Net Primates, which incorporates layers of vital IT Security that help combat email phishing.