DVLA: tips to stay safe online
Advice on how to avoid becoming a target for online fraudsters
As an operator of heavy goods or public service vehicles, you’ll already know the importance of security when it comes your vehicles and what you carry in them.
However, online security may not be an obvious concern to everyone.
With social media being a big part of everyone’s lives nowadays, including professional drivers, the need to be vigilant is more important than ever.
Images of personal information like licence and vehicle documents could be invaluable to someone looking to commit fraud.
That’s why the DVLA has provided some tips to help motorists stay safe online. They received over 1000 reports of online scams in the last 3 of 2018.
7 tips for motorists to stay safe online
With new online scams cropping up all the time, motorists have increasingly become a target for fraudsters. DVLA has revealed their contact centre received 1,275 reports regarding suspected vehicle tax scams during the last 3 months of 2018.
In October, November and December last year, DVLA’s contact centre recorded 1,275 individual complaints regarding suspected web, email, text or social media scams. This figure could include multiple reports of the same incident.
According to Action Fraud, all forms of cyber fraud cost victims around £34.6 million between April and September last year.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Fraud or cybercrime can be reported to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm), or by using their online reporting tool, which is available 24/7.
Safer Internet Day 2019 will be celebrated globally on Tuesday 5 February. The aim of Safer Internet Day is to inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. This year’s theme is ‘Together for a better internet’.
Figures provided by Action Fraud (City of London Police) show that £34.6 million was lost by cyber fraud victims between April and September alone last year. 33% of all reported fraud was by phone message, 13% through online sales and 12% by email.
On Safer Internet Day, DVLA has provided the following tips to help motorists stay safe online.
1) Only use GOV.UK
When looking for information or using our online services, double check that you are using a GOV.UK webpage so that you can be sure that you’re dealing directly with DVLA.
2) Scam emails
We never send 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 websites
Keep an eye out for potentially 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 that you could get for free or at a lower cost on GOV.UK.
4) Look out for premium rate numbers
Look out for websites offering to connect you to our contact centre, as they are usually premium rate numbers. Our contact centre numbers will 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.
We never send 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, you should report it to the police via Action Fraud immediately.
Dave Pope, Chief Information Security Officer at DVLA, said:
When looking for contact details or any of DVLA’s digital services, you should only use GOV.UK so you can be sure that you’re dealing directly with DVLA.
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.
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 said:
We know that fraudsters are increasingly using more sophisticated ways to trick their victims, and so it is important that members of the public think about their online behaviour and ensure that they do everything they can to protect themselves.
Taking measures such as limiting the amount of personal information shared on social media platforms 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 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.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please report it us via our online reporting tool or by phone 0300 123 2040.