I received an email out of the blue from TV Licensing at the end of December, claiming our licence was due to expire – on the same day – and telling us to “renew now, quickly and easily online”. A red warning box then stated: “We’re sorry to let you know that the TV license [sic] could not be automatically renewed. Something’s gone wrong with your payments. Your bank has declined the latest direct debit payment.”
I share a flat with another student, and this alarmed us as we are acutely aware of the warnings about young people caught watching live TV or BBC iPlayer without a licence, and the ensuing penalties. Yet apart from the dodgy spelling, it all seemed authentic. When we looked more closely, we saw that they had got our licence number wrong, and there was a link to set up a new direct debit. RT, London NW1
You were right to be cautious as there are a number of scams targeting licence-holders doing the rounds.
The incorrect spelling of “licence” was a major clue. As we have said many times, if you suspect an email might be from a scammer, it is important not to click on any links or open any attachments. You may be tricked into installing viruses or giving away personal and bank details. TV Licensing advises any consumers concerned about whether an email is from a fraudster, to visit its official website by directly typing tvlicensing.co.uk into your browser or use its other contact details.
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