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Beware the resurgence of TV Licence scams

We’ve been shown as many as four different TV licence phishing emails in the last few weeks. Here’s exactly what they look like – have you received one?

We know that periods of uncertainty and distress can be a magnet for scammers – that’s why we had to issue a scam warning during the collapse of Thomas Cook.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, things couldn’t be more uncertain, so it’s no surprise to see fraudsters attempting to take advantage.

Kate Bevan has put together a comprehensive guide on how to spot and stop coronavirus fraud after the City of London Police reported a 400% increase in scams.

With many of us now at home looking for ways to stay entertained, perhaps we also shouldn’t be surprised to see scammers trying their luck with a tried and tested method; TV Licence phishing emails.

As of March last year, this type of scam had cost victims more than £830,000.

TV Licence scam examples

We’ve been sent four different examples of these fake emails in the last few weeks. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

Clearly some of these are better crafted than others, but the variety and frequency with which they’re being sent to people at such an uncertain time makes them dangerous.

Our phishing emails advice

As always, we’d urge everyone to always be on the lookout for the tell-tale signs of a scam email.

All of these examples are trying to rush you into clicking through to a fake website which will ask for your bank details.

Always double check the sender’s email address, the wording and the branding used. If an email has made you feel uneasy, go with your gut and contact the company it’s purporting to be from via its official channels.

If you think you may have been a victim of this scam, contact your bank immediately and let it know what’s happened.

Our guide also explains how you can get your money back after a scam.

Have you noticed an increase in phishing emails lately? If so, get in contact in the comments and let us know what you’ve seen.


I received a scam email supposed to be for the TV license,
The email said that my direct debit had not gone through and could I send them my account details again.
I thought that’s a bit odd?, so I rang the TV licensing and they said that my direct debit had been paid and to ignore the email.I hope this email is helpful.

Elaine says:
30 April 2020

My husband got the same email the tv licence payment doesn’t even come out of his bank account

Penny says:
26 April 2020

I have had three of these, the second and third pretending to be follow ups. I knew it was a scam because I don’t pay for the licence!

I received one of these in May of last year. It said my licence needed renewing. First it is Sept renewal, I pay by direct debit quarterly and the number was nothing like mine. Such a lot of these you need your wits about you.

My scam was by email telling me that my TV license had been cancelled and as they were unable to Authorise my payment details.

It went on: Unfortunately we’ve had to suspend your account as you currently have an overdue balance of £12.00

If you don’t keep up with your payments, we may be forced to cancel your license or pass your details to a debt collection agency.

I pay by direct debit and I know it is up to date.

Dave Lamb says:
30 April 2020

Yes Ive had several of these, I similarly pay by direct debit and knew that payments were still being made. The overdue balance did not match the monthly payments and the TV licence number did not match my own. You can check your licence number either from your own records (if you are diligent and keep such records) or from http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk

Pauline smith says:
30 April 2020

I have had this one sent to me, asking for payment of £12.00. I haven’t paid and am waiting for debt collectors to knock on my door

Barry Horton says:
30 April 2020

I received 2 of these in early April and asking for me to give my payment/direct debit details again as they had not been able to process my details and the licence was due to expire shortly. The email superficially looked genuine but the wrong TV Licence account number and the wrong expiry date were good clues to the fact these were scam emails.

i am not suprised i get letters all of the time from the tv licence demanding money when i have paid in full for the year so these scammers can blend in no problum

Brian says:
30 April 2020

Had one of these addressed to my wife’s email which in itself was a bit of a giveaway as the licence is in my name. All the details were of course incorrect & I contacted the TV Licensing authority as I thought it may be helpful to have the email forwarded for them to investigate its origin. I was surprised that they weren’t interested & just told me to delete it. Many companies want this information to help take scammers down but apparently our TV Licensing authority isn’t one of them.

Glenys Wilks says:
30 April 2020

Yes I received a TV Licensing scam demand as shown above but we are over 75 and are aware that our current exemption from the TV licence fee for us is currently under review

Kathleen says:
30 April 2020

I’ve been getting these regularly since early last year and I know immediately they are scams from the way I pay for the tv licence. Hitherto I’ve always forwarded to ActionFraud. But when I tried to forward to ActionFraud earlier this week it just wouldn’t go. I got email from email administrator saying ‘Email System Error’ Reason 5.7.1 TLS required by recipient. I just couldn’t find out what that was. I’ve never had that before!!!

Alan Burch says:
30 April 2020

I recently received two emails, each of which stated that my monthly TV Licence direct debit payment had failed. Luckily I know that I for my TV licence annually and payment is not due for some months. So, despite the senders’ email address looking legitimate, I decided they were scams and ignored them both.

Peter says:
30 April 2020

I received the TV license renewal scam email today. It had me worried at first because I’m due for renewal around this time of year. Luckily I had last year’s license to hand and it confirmed I’m not due for renewal till June.

Tony Carswell says:
30 April 2020

I received a scam E- Mail stating that my Direct Debit hadn’t gone through and could I supply my Bank details for payment. I knew it was a scam as the word Licence was spelt License and my Licence renews automatically later in the year.
I deleted the E-Mail immediately

30 April 2020

Yes I had one and sent it to TV licensing

[Moderator: We’ve converted this comment to sentence case. Please don’t type in all caps unless you’re intending to shout]

Salli Grant says:
30 April 2020

I have been inundated with “Sky “ mails telling me I need to revalidate my account 2 or 3 everyday for past 4 weeks
If I don’t revalidate my e mail address?? and password my e mails will be blocked

The biggest scam is that we have to pay the TV license !

Bob – What would be your preferred method for paying for your ability watch TV, listen to the radio and enjoy all the services offered by the BBC? It would have to be paid for one way or another and while the licensing system is not perfect no one has come up with a better alternative so far. It keeps the BBC upto the mark and that in turn leads to the other channels providing higher quality programing in order to secure audience levels that will generate enough advertising revenue to keep them afloat.

Sue A says:
1 May 2020

I’ve had two emails saying they were unable to process my payment for £12, I checked my online Bank account and the fee had been paid by Direct Debit as usual. The email did look genuine but the tell tale sign was the amount was wrong! I pay over £13 p.m.

Richard Curran says:
1 May 2020

I get one of two on a monthly basis one saying my licience is cancelled as my direct debit has not been paid or cancelled. The other saying my licience is due for renewal and can be paid now on line: obvious to me scammers are at work, ‘cos firstly the licience is not in my name, 2ndly the licence expiry date is wrong and 3rdly it is not paid by direct debit against my bank details.

Freda Richardson says:
1 May 2020

Yes, I also received a scam TV licence email a little while ago. From memory I think I did report it to Which.
My daughter went on to say that she had seen it on The Martin Lewis Money Show. I ignored it.

I have also received the same messages but knew they were scams because I do not pay for my TV license – age related!

I also received the one about the tv licensing but realised mine was not due yet I did delete it