The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) warned drivers of a scam that plays on the fact that after the paper counterpart element of the driving licence was abolished in June 2015, its services were transferred online to streamline them.
Find out more about the changes to the UK driving licence
What is the scam?
Drivers receive an email, telephone call or text message telling them they must verify their driving licence by logging onto the DVLA’s website and paying a fee.
Failure to do so will, they are warned, result in their driving licence being suspended leaving them unable to drive.
Anyone clicking on the link is taken to a website that looks very like the genuine DVLA one.
Here they are prompted to reveal their driving licence number and enter a credit or debit card to make the unnecessary payment.
The money is then taken but even that isn’t the end of the story as the card number could then be passed onto other fraudsters to make further illegal payments until the account is empty.
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How widespread is it?
It’s hard to get an accurate figure as to how many people might have fallen for this scam, but industry estimates have suggested that the problem is widespread and is said to be getting more common and referring people to increasingly sophisticated websites.
Five sure-fire signs something is a scam
How can I avoid falling prey to it?
The DVLA has confirmed that it will never approach a driver in this way and says that anyone affected should delete any emails that purport to come from it without opening them.
It says that drivers should also ignore any telephone calls and text messages asking them to do the same thing.
You can report the approach to ActionFraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.
Stay safe online and protect your privacy
Is there anything else I need to know?
A variation of the scam involves another fake DVLA email, text message or phone call, only this time it is aimed at drivers aged 70 or over who are renewing their driving licence.
Again, the website looks official but is a scam that charges you extra for doing something you can do yourself for free by visiting gov.uk/renew-driving-licence-at-70.
Some victims also report being signed up for ongoing direct debits without their knowledge as part of the same scam.
Again, it is always worth reporting any email scam to ActionFraud.
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