Cyber Criminals Target UK Motorists

The British Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has warned that cyber criminals are targeting unsuspecting drivers with various web, email, text and social media scams, after seeing a 20% year-on-year increase in scam reports during the last three months of 2019.

Some scams are links to DVLA services that don’t exist, and messages about fake vehicle excise duty (VED) refunds, among other things that look “too good to be true”, the agency said.

“These websites and messages are designed to trick people into believing they can access services that simply don’t exist, such as removing penalty points from driving licences,” said DVLA CISO David Pope.

“All our tax refunds are generated automatically after a motorist has told us they have sold, scrapped or transferred their vehicle to someone else so we don’t ask for anyone to get in touch with us to claim their refund.... We want to protect the public and if something seems too good to be true, then it almost certainly is. The only trusted source of DVLA information is Gov.uk,” said Pope.

“It’s also important to remember never to share images on social media that contain personal information, such as your driving licence and vehicle documents,” he added.

Those behind the scams have likely acquired details of their marks on dark web markets, where UK driver and vehicle documents can be found for sale. People with any concerns that they have been targeted, either by phone or through email, should report concerns to the police via Action Fraud immediately.

A spokesperson for Action Fraud said that such scams often ticked up in the first couple of months of the year. This is because people are more likely to be under stress as they sort out their finances for the year ahead, and therefore can be more inclined to make mistakes or overlook something suspicious that they might more usually spot.

The annual cost of fraud to the UK currently sits at well over £190bn, and on a wider scale, the problem is rapidly increasing, particularly using fake and mobile apps, or by exploiting popular interest in global events, such as the corona-virus, to conduct fraud campaigns against both businesses and consumers.

You can report fraud or cybercrime to Action Fraud any time of the day or night using our online reporting tool. Reporting online is quick and easy.

The tool will guide you through simple questions to identify what has happened and our advisors are available twenty-four hours to give you help and advice if you need it.

DVLA:           Action Fraud:          Computer Weekly:         Image: V5C Logbook issued by the DVLA

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