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Seven tips for motorists to stay safe online

With new online scams cropping up all the time, motorists have increasingly become a target for fraudsters.

The DVLA’s contact centre received 1,275 reports of suspected vehicle tax scams during the last three months of 2018 alone, and now it has provided some tips to help motorists stay safe online.

1. Only use GOV.UK. When looking for information or using any DVLA online services, double check that you are using a GOV.UK webpage so you can be sure you’re dealing directly with the DVLA.

2. Scam emails. The DVLA never sends emails that ask you to confirm your personal details or payment information. If you get anything like this, do not open any links and delete the email immediately.

3. Beware of misleading third party websites. These sites will often offer to help you apply for a driving licence or tax your car, but are likely to charge additional fees for services you could get for free or at a lower cost on GOV.UK.

4. Look out for premium rate numbers. Websites offering to connect you to the DVLA contact centre are usually premium rate numbers. The DVLA’s contact centre numbers only ever begin with 0300, which costs the same as a local call.

5. Be mindful of what you share online. Never share images online of your driving licence and vehicle documents. This personal information could be invaluable to those looking to steal the identity of a vehicle or its owner.

6. Texts. The DVLA never sends texts about vehicle tax refunds. Text scams often ask you to follow a link to provide credit card details. Never click on the link and delete the text straight away.

7. Report any suspected scams. If you are concerned about any calls, texts, emails or suspicious online activity, report it to the police via Action Fraud immediately.

“Posting on social media is a way of life for most drivers, however they may not realise they risk setting themselves up as a prime target for fraudulent activity,” Dave Pope, Chief Information Security Officer at the DVLA, explained. “People can stay ahead of the criminals by being vigilant with their personal information and who they share it with, and reporting anything suspicious to the Police via Action Fraud.

A spokesperson for Action Fraud added: “We know that fraudsters are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, so it is important that members of the public think about their online behaviour and ensure they do everything they can to protect themselves.

“Taking measures such as limiting the amount of personal information shared on social media and being cautious of any unsolicited messages received can help to prevent online crime. You should always be cautious when sharing personal information online. Always check that who you are dealing with really is who they claim to be – for example, by only using GOV.UK when accessing government services online, such as the DVLA.”