According to Which.com, scammers have stolen over £830,000 from people who fell for a TV licence phishing scam - so when one of these emails ended up in our inbox, we had to take a closer look.
There have been a few different iterations of this scam; some with the TV licensing logo, some that are in plain text; but there has been a serious amount of effort put into the one we’ve received (and with the amount of money that scammers seem to be gathering from these emails, we can see why). Luckily, this email didn't get past our junk filter; but if it does end up in your inbox, here are the telltale signs you’re looking at a scam.
From a general perspective, everything looks fairly legitimate here. There has clearly been a lot of effort put into the graphic design; the calendar with the date on does go some way into suggesting that this is really from TV Licensing headquarters. However, as with most phishing scams, the fakery doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny.
The ‘Dear’ box here lists our email address. Unfortunately, unless you’ve told TV Licensing that you don’t need a TV licence (and if you have told them that, you’re probably not going to fall for this phishing email asking for a final payment), the folks at TV Licensing will always address you by your name. ‘Dear customer’ or ‘Dear [email address]’ suggests that we’re looking at some junk mail.
Here, despite the impressive graphics, our phishers have fallen down with their spelling. Poor grammar, sentence structure and misspelled words are always an indication that you’re reading a phishing email, and in this image you can see all three. ‘If you will not Update your Information, the service provided by TV Licensing may be interrupted’ - a strange sentence if ever we’ve heard one.
The odd capitalisation here and the oddly positioned ™ thrown into the ‘Update TV ™ Licensing Now’ button are all great indications that we’re reading a phishing email. Even the following paragraph with the heading ‘Would you like to pay now?’ is a little confusing; do we have the option to wait until next month? The given deadline is 6th May.
Finally, although the text at the bottom of this email sounds very professional and, we suspect, is copied directly from the folks at TV Licensing (we particularly love the addition that you can get this email in Braille if you just call this totally legitimate and definitely not a scam telephone number) - a closer look proves that it doesn’t hold water.
If we hover over the links that are absolutely littered throughout this email, we can see that, low and behold, we’re not being sent to TV Licensing website at all - but to a website called herpreme. We did not click the link, but according to Which, on arriving at this website you’ll be asked for a bunch of bank details - and we suspect that the phishers aren’t going to stop at the £16 they’ve requested from you.
Want more information on this scam?
TV Licensing have responded to this scam directly, and have put together a fairly comprehensive list of things to check when you receive an email that is apparently from them: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/faqs/FAQ288
As always, if you do receive one of these emails and something looks a little off, please contact TV Licensing directly. Do not click the links in the emails, or call the number listed in the email - unless you fancy losing a ton of money to some phishers.
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