It’s painful enough dealing with mandatory car insurance, road tax, MOT bills and so on. Hence, the last thing you want is anyone trying to squeeze moremoney out of you, simply for being a car owner.
Unfortunately, that’s precisely what a growing contingency of unscrupulous criminals are doing right now. The past year has brought about an enormous surge in the number of motorists receiving fraudulent messages, supposedly from their insurance companies or even from the DVLA.
In all instances, they’re sent for only one reason – to scam you out of your money.
How Does the Scam Work?
On the whole, it’s a pretty similar scam to any other mainstream ‘phishing’ or financial fraud activity. You receive a message by e-mail or directly to your phone, which provides information regarding one matter or the other and advises you to take immediate action.
In some instances, drivers are receiving fraudulent DVLA messages stating that they are owed a refund having overpaid on their road tax for several years. In others, it’s a case of being told a previous payment of some kind didn’t go through as it was supposed to, which needs to be addressed within say 48 hours before penalties are payable.
Either way, the recipient is asked to hand over sensitive information, which is subsequently used by the scammer to steal their identity, drain their bank account or both.
There’s also a wave of fraudulent text and e-mail activity from supposed insurance companies going on across the UK. Once again, they tend to use relatively common (yet convincing) tactics to get you to ‘confirm’ or ‘refresh’ your personal information. Upon doing so – either by e-mail or text message – you provide them with all the information they need to do their dirty work.
The problem being that by the time you notice anything out of the ordinary, the damage may already be done.
How to Spot a Scam Email or Message
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always easy to spot a scam email or message at a glance. In fact, it’s not uncommon for fraudulent communications to be almost identical to the real thing. As such, it’s important that nothing be taken for granted and every request for personal information be treated as suspicious.
Sometimes, you’ll detect spelling mistakes, grammatical issues or general inconsistencies with the quality of the content. It could also be that the e-mail or message originates from an address or phone number that doesn’t seem to add up. Above all else, it’s worth noting that responsible insurance companies and certainly the DVLA would neverask you to confirm your most important information by way of e-mail or text message.
As a rule of thumb, therefore, be sure to scrutinise every important communication you receive from your insurance company or the DVLA. Before going ahead and complying with the requests and requirements in the message, call them directly and verify whether or not they sent it. A quick and easy check that could save you a world of headaches further down the line.