People are being warned to be on their guard over phishing email scams.
Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards team has received a number of complaints about a hoax email that appears to be a reminder to residents to pay their TV licence fee.
A link within the email leads to a convincing website which gives the option to pay and renew the licence, but the reference number and date of renewal are incorrect and not applicable to the recipient.
Closer inspection of the emails will reveal that the originating email address is not one used by BBC licensing. Any genuine communication from TV licensing will be from either email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and occasionally Infobase-XConsumer@dm-uk1.com
Coun John Riddle, the council’s cabinet member for planning, housing and resilience, said: “These scams are changing all the time as criminals work out new ways to separate residents from their money.
“People have to be wary when they receive an email from an unknown or unexpected source because, all too often, these are part of a scam.”
Philip Soderquest, the council’s head of housing and public protection, said: “We are pleased that residents who have received this email so far have realised it may be a scam and haven’t passed on any of their personal details. We advise all consumers to be very wary and not to be pressured or tricked into providing their bank details to anyone.”
To reduce the risks of falling for email scams, Trading Standards has the following tips:
Be wary of unsolicited emails suggesting or implying that you owe money or have won money;
Don’t be pressured into giving personal details or bank details;
Don’t respond to unsolicited emails when you are busy in order that you can give them your full consideration when you have time;
Watch for bad spelling and/or poor grammar in an email claiming to represent a company, royalty, a prize agency, etc;
Always consider that a request for money is to be treated with suspicion until proven otherwise;
Check to see if the email is genuine. Use a telephone number or email address you are confident is genuine and not one which appears on the email;
Take five minutes to think about what you are doing with your data and who you might be giving it to.
If you receive one of these calls and would like further advice, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040506, or report any potential fraud to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 1232040. Useful advice for consumers and businesses is available on the Take Five – To Stop Fraud website at https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk