Spotting TV Licence scams
Have you entered your details in response to a TV Licence scam?
Report it to Police Scotland by calling 101, or you could contact Advice Direct Scotland for advice if you think you have been scammed. They can give you advice about what to do next, and can report the scam to Trading Standards if appropriate. They can be reached by calling 0808 800 9060.
If you provided your bank account details, talk to your bank immediately.
As of this week TV Licensing have started sending letters to anyone aged over 75 asking them to either pay for their TV licence or apply for a free one. The letter TV Licensing sends will include your licence number, your title and your last name and they will only ask you to pay using the following options:
- By post using the address TV Licensing, PO Box 578, Darlington DL98 1AN
- Online at tvl.co.uk/75pay or tvl.co.uk/75apply
- Over the phone on 0300 790 6151
If you are contacted and asked to pay for your TV licence using a different phone number, a different website or by posting your details to a different address, this is a scam.
TV Licensing will not come to your doorstep to collect the licence fee if you are over 75, so anyone who claims to do so is also a scammer.
If you’re unsure about anything, you can call TV Licensing on 0300 303 9695 to speak with someone who can help.
Ask the BBC and UK Government to act
Add your voice to the thousands that have already emailed the BBC and Government about this change. Together we can still save free TV licences for the over 75s.
What is the TV Licence scam?
There are several ways someone might attempt a TV licence scam. They might:
- text or call you
- send a letter in the post
- come to the doorstep and pretend they're someone they're not
- email you
While the most common TV licence scams tend to be via email, if you're at all suspicious of any contact that claims to be about your TV licence then contact the TV licensing company yourself by searching the contact details. Never use the details given in any communications you're suspicious of.
These emails are a phishing scam, a common type of email fraud where scammers will send bogus emails pretending to be from a respectable organisation. This is to trick you into clicking through to a fake website where you will enter your personal details.
For this scam, the emails are disguised to look like they have been sent by the TV Licensing organisation.
They may say you're entitled to a refund for an overpayment or warn that your licence is about to expire. They will then ask you to respond by entering your bank details on a fake website.
Although the emails may use the TV Licensing logo and have other features that make them look authentic, you should never trust them.
How to spot this scam?
There are a few common signs that you shouldn't trust an email:
- The sender has an unusual email address
The TV Licensing organisation will use firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com) to email you. The scammers cannot send emails using these addresses. Instead, they may come from a personal email account or one which looks unusual.
- The email doesn't use your name or has an incorrect account number
TV Licensing will usually include your name in their emails unless you told them you don't need a licence and didn't provide a name. The scammers may insert an incorrect customer ID in the hope that you will not check that it's wrong.
- It contains spelling and grammatical errors and inconsistent styles
Although all writers can make mistakes, it's common to find grammatical and spelling errors on phishing emails. They may also seem too casual or unusually formal or use colours and styles that are inconsistent with the organisation's style.
Our infographic can help you spot a suspicious email
What should I do if I get this email?
If you see this suspicious email, don't reply with your details or open any links or documents. Delete it straight away.
You can report the phishing attempt to Action Fraud. Not all reports will be investigated, but every report will help Action Fraud better understand the scale of a problem and the methods that scammers are using.
If you're still unsure, you can contact the TV Licensing company directly using the phone number that is on the official TV Licensing website.
What should I do if I've been a victim of a scam?
If you've been the victim of a scam, remember that you're not alone. Scams are increasingly common and many people are caught out. Here are some tips on what you should do next:
- If you suspect you’ve lost money in a fraud, contact your bank or building society. They can cancel any cards or freeze your account.
- Report the crime to Police Scotland by calling 101 and speaking to a local police officer.
- Contact Advice Direct Scotland for advice if you think you have been scammed 0808 800 9060.
If you feel concerned, you can speak to one of Age Scotland's friendly Helpline advisers by calling 0800 12 44 222 (Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm)