UK motorists have become targets for fraudsters using a range of online car scams. In fact, DVLA revealed their contact centre received well over 1,000 vehicle tax scam reports in the final quarter of 2018.
So, what can motorists do to avoid Internet scams and stay safe online? The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency issued some tips and advice as a timely reminder on Safer Internet Day 2019.
What is Safer Internet Day? It has become a global event and celebrated on the 5th of February this year .
It all started as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004. Presently, around 140 countries worldwide celebrate Safer Internet Day each year.
SID has now become one of the major landmark events in the online safety calendar.
The project aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues. They range from scams, such as cyberbullying, to other social networking issues.
Motorists often search for the contact details of DVLA digital services. The best advice is to use GOV.UK only. That way, you will be sure you are dealing directly with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
Posting personal details and updates on social media is a way of life for many drivers. But, doing so risks setting themselves up as a prime target for this kind of fraudulent activity.
There are ways for motorists to stay one step ahead of the criminals. They need to be vigilant with their personal information and who they share it with. They should also report anything suspicious to the Police via Action Fraud (details below).
Note: Coinciding with Safer Internet Day 2019, the DVLA provides the following seven tips to help motorists stay safe online.
Searching for information online, or using online services, is commonplace. But, make sure you are using a GOV.UK web page to be sure you are dealing directly with the DVLA.
The DVLA never send out emails asking for confirmation of personal details or for payment information. Do not open any emails that resemble this format and delete them immediately.
Note: Check our page that explains how to identify eight of the most common types of Internet frauds.
Watch out for 'misleading' third party websites. Often, they will offer to help you apply for a service (e.g. a driving licence or car tax).
In most cases, they charge you additional fees for these services that you could get for free (or lower) on GOV.UK.
Be aware of websites that offer to connect you to the contact centre. They will usually be premium rate numbers. The DVLA contact centre numbers begin with 0300 (which cost the same as making a local call).
Note: You can check the rates for making a telephone call from a landline to mobile cost on the table of minimum and maximum call charges.
Never share images of your driving licence and vehicle documents online. This kind of personal information is invaluable to anyone looking to steal the identity of a vehicle or its owner.
DVLA never send text messages about vehicle tax refunds. As a rule, text scams ask you to follow a link to provide credit card details. Never click on this type of link and then delete the text without delay.
You may have some concerns about phone calls, emails, texts, or other suspicious online activities. If this happens, you should always report it to the police via Action Fraud immediately.
Fraudsters are using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims. So, it is important that members of the public use caution with their online behaviour. They should do everything they can to protect themselves, such as:
Always do some checks to ensure the person you are dealing with actually is who they claim to be. One way is to use GOV.UK when accessing government services online, like the DVLA.
Do you feel you have been a victim of fraud? If so, report it to Action Fraud using their online reporting tool or by phoning 0300 123 2040.
DVLA Tips to Help Motorists Avoid Car Scams in United Kingdom