Fake road tax fines bully widow into giving precious personal info
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“Unpaid vehicle tax – penalty £3,500!” was the first of a stream of threats a widow received until she could take the hounding no more.
The emails were scams claiming to be from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), but unfortunately 80-year-old Audrey Morris believed them.
By the time she came to Crusader asking for help stopping the billing demands, although she had not paid the swindlers any money, she had supplied something just as valuable: lots of personal information.
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected]
“I replied to their questionnaire in full,” Audrey revealed as she had attempted to explain to them that she no longer lived in the UK and her car was taxed and insured in Spain.
She also contacted the DVLA, but that foundered when her details did not match those on its system.
But one look at the emails Audrey forwarded to us showed how bogus they were. The addresses featured countries like Japan and Belgium, the wording littered with atrocious inaccuracies such as “debit collection” rather than “debt collectors”.
Our first move was to get Audrey to contact her bank and put a watch on her account. The crooks have her address as well as her car details so she also needs to remain super vigilant and boost her computer and phone antivirus and security protection.
Like tax scams, DVLA ones are a constant because of their particular power to frighten law-abiding citizens. So don’t react if you get call or an email directing you to click on a “vehicle status link” and always check the sender’s address.
“The DVLA never asks for bank details over email,” warns a spokesperson. “We regularly advise our customers that the only place to access DVLA services is on GOV.UK.”
[Audrey’s name has been changed]
Fight the fraudsters
Report any suspicious emails you receive to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) via their suspicious email service, and forward suspicious text messages to their network provider to investigate, on 7726 free of charge.
If you have been the victim of fraud do report it to the police via Action Fraud.
Remember the DVLA regularly publishes advice on GOV.UK and across all its channels, including top tips to help motorists stay safe online.
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