/ Scams

Vehicle tax phishing emails remain a threat

Fraudsters continue to use fake vehicle tax emails as a means to obtain sensitive information. Here are some examples to keep an eye out for.

Vehicle tax phishing emails are a tried and tested method for scammers. The DVLA has issued fraud warnings in the past and we’ve ensured we share examples.

But as always with such a large number of motorists seen as potential victims, the problem persists. We’ve had a number of new examples reported here on Which? Conversation and to our scam watch email inbox.

Here are some fresh examples, complete with threats of debt collection agencies and cancelled direct debits.

Fake vehicle tax email examples

The above example was sent earlier this year directly to a Which? member of staff. It includes an attempt at personalisation with the recipient’s email address repeated in the first line.

This is a clever tactic for making the email appear genuine with minimal effort, however it clearly does not stand up to scrutiny when you realise that the fraudsters must already have knowledge of your email address to send the phishing attempt in the first place.


This more recent example again makes threats in order to panic a potential victim into taking quick action they’ll later regret. ‘Enforcement action’ and ‘not adhering to the terms of the Direct Debit guarantee’ are all attempts to cause worry and upset – emotions those behind emails like this are attempting to take advantage of.

Which? Conversation commenter Lidia has also had a similar experience.

Dealing with vehicle tax phishing emails

We showed the DVLA these examples. A spokesperson said:

“DVLA never asks for bank details over email and never sends text messages about vehicle tax refunds. As we regularly advise our customers, the only place to access official information on DVLA and its services is GOV.UK.

Customers should report any suspicious emails they receive to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) via their suspicious email service, and forward suspicious text messages to their network provider to investigate, on 7726 free of charge.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of fraud should report this to the police via Action Fraud. DVLA regularly publishes advice on GOV.UK and across all our channels, including top tips to help motorists stay safe online.”

If you think you may have been the victim of a fake vehicle tax email, let your bank know what’s happened immediately.

Guide: how to spot a scam

Guide: how to get your money back after a scam

As the DVLA has said, fake emails and phishing sites can be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre on report@phishing.gov.uk

We’ll continue working to make people aware of these fake emails, so please do continue to share these scams with us and send warnings to friends and family.

Have you received a vehicle tax scam email or any others relating to motoring? Let us know in the comments.

Mr S Kelly says:
5 August 2021

i get them and i don’t even own a vehicle

Michael Corry says:
5 August 2021

Me too

Easy to stop most scams. Hard to catch the people doing it but when one is caught being executed painfully within 12 hours would deter most others from doing it.

Really? Having the death penalty didn’t stop people being murdered!

John Hatfield says:
5 August 2021

Not all murders but most.

While I can appreciate the strength of frustration people have against being scammed, Which? Conversation isn’t a space to call for or encourage violence towards others. Please, let’s refrain from future calls of execution and murder in the comments. Thanks!

Well, actually there was a lot of evidence that murders tended to increase after a public hanging, which was one of the more compelling reasons for abolishing the death penalty. Strange but true. – but we are getting off the point somewhat and into rather dark territory.

Peter Coates says:
5 August 2021

But it prevented convicted murderers from re-offending.

Janet Diplock says:
5 August 2021

My elderly mother was sent one of these scam emails recently and spent ages trying to contact DVLA. I told her it was a scam and sent it on to NCSC but she`s still convinced they`ll come after her. She sold the vehicle in question a year ago.

The problem lies with scammers think they can, and usually do, get away with no criminal charge, as they are usually untraceable and until the system is altered in some way, they will continue to take advantage of poor victims.

paul lawn says:
5 August 2021

It is far too easy for scammers to be anonymous. Their sites should be traceable by the police.

Deprive the scammers of their ill gotten gains from honest people. Hit them hard where it hurts.
Take away their ill gotten gains deprive them financially so they can appreciate financial hardship like
they cause to decent people who do not deserve this sort of appalling behaviour.

Very hard to enforce if they are based abroad, as many will be for that very reason. Not sure how we will get round this problem.

The risk of indiscriminate collateral damage would probably be too great, Andrew. Hard to control, nuclear fall-out.

Malcolm Nunn says:
5 August 2021

I had a Verhicle Tax e-mail two weeks after I’d taxed my vehicle. DVLA had taken the money out of my bank so I knew my car was taxed. I sent the e-mail to the Government Phishing site.

Bill Black says:
5 August 2021

I’ve reported numerous scams but what actually happens when people do this? As far as I can see it doesn’t seem to stop them from continuing to rip people off.

Denis O'Connell says:
5 August 2021

Members say the police should ‘catch’ these financial thieves – but surely GCHQ have a much greater ability to find these scammers. Do they have anything to do with this problem? As for confiscating the money from their bank accounts, apparently a lot of them are foreign-based which is a problem for the UK authorities.


We had a letter from the DVLA to an unknown person advising their licence needed renewal. We reported it to action fraud and have since received another letter from the ‘DVLA’ advising that the licence renewal pack was linked to our address in error. This was very concerning to us since a few years ago we were being sent requests for money from car insurance companies to unknown persons at our address which we also reported to action fraud.

Guy Robinson says:
5 August 2021

Tracking and convicting scammers and hackers is an international problem and a complex technical issue. Many of us would though like to know what steps are being taken, including diplomatic arrangements, to deal with this particular pandemic. The sums of money obtained fraudulently are enormous and justify robust action to deal with these criminals.

Don Cook says:
5 August 2021

The best I’ve cream I’ve ever had was at my daughter’s wedding in France. The flavour was Nougat! I was tempted to move to France!

As Paul says above, the problem is with the anonymity of the scammers. If all social media and email accounts had to be linked to a verified name and address it would go a long way to solving the problem. If the “owners” of these “services” (e.g. facebook, or googlemail) were made responsible for moneys lost to such scams using their platforms, it would probably go away altogether!

Robert Sawle says:
5 August 2021

How do these scammers manage to open bank accounts? Surely, it is up to the banks to ensure the bona fides of applicants.

[Moderator: this comment was deleted as it did not adhere to the Community guidelines. Please do not encourage the murder of or violence toward others on Which? Conversation]

If we wish to benefit from the rule of law then we must uphold it in all respects otherwise total mayhem will ensue. We can’t just go around shooting people dead because they are suspected of committing a fraud, however offensive the circumstances. We have courts to determine whether a crime has been committed and to decide on an appropriate sentence; abandon that and revenge killings and all manner of indiscriminate violence will break out.

Alex McWhinnie says:
5 August 2021

As soon as the DVLA stopped issuing tax discs this was the signal for scammers to start this type of scam.
In my opinion a retrograde step.

The Banks are doing a good job with lot’s of cautions when money is to be transferred on line. If a transfer is suspected by the monitoring system, the payment is held and a phone call is made by the bank to verify the transfer. As for cash point withdrawals, Virgin /Clydesdale/ Yorkshire Banking group send an auto generated text message to customer’s phone asking if a legitimate withdrawal has been made? almost before the money is taken out of the dispenser. If customers do not feel confident in transferring money online (large amounts) they should go to the bank in person.

One of the problems with defeating scammers is that people KEEP falling for them in the same way, ignoring the warnings. eg do not click on links, check you are on the correct sites, never pay for something via direct bank transfer unless you know the person. That hunky US servicemen who has never met you but fell in love with your online profile is almost certainly a fraud, and the US servicemen do NOT need to pay to to be shipped home at the end of a deployment. (they earn money and do not need to borrow from you).

Dawn Mcwilliam says:
5 August 2021

Maby if companies stopped selling our details willy nilly then scammers wouldn’t gain from us surely? Its sickening what they do!

Banks and credit card companies are doing lots of good stuff to stop fraudulent payments for which I am grateful. Where it falls down is when a legitimate company contacts you about an “odd” payment and asks for lots of personal details ( which I refused to give). They got very huffy.

2 weeks later I got a letter saying they had suspected fraudulent transactions but since I would not identify myself they didn’t challenge it. Luckily it was a genuine payment but I went mad at them. There should be a better way of checking details than asking you to reveal them all to a random caller ( if you did that and it wasn’t the genuine company you would probably be considered negligent). Surely the right answer should have been to phone the usual customer care number and check. A few companies have done this to me. Most are fine about the fact I wont tell them all my identifying info but some react badly.


I received an SMS this week telling me the DVLA had recalculated my vehicle tax & I am owed £48.84p due to over payments. Visit vehiclerebate.co to claim your refund now.
I also received another SMS saying they had received a message that I was looking for a job (I’ll be 80 in January). Please contact Whatsapp to apply, with contact details.