/ Motoring, Shopping, Technology

Scam watch: TV licence refund scam

phishing email

When applying for a new TV licence, a Which? member received an email offering him a refund. It turned out to be a scam…

Mike Douglas told us:

‘I recently visited the TV Licensing website to apply for the free licence for over-75s. Having entered my details, I received an email advising that I would hear back within 21 working days.

‘Just four days later, I received an email stating I was eligible for a refund of £86.99. It said that my account couldn’t be credited due to invalid details and to click the link to be refunded.

‘By phone, TV Licensing staff confirmed this was a scam and that other people were also being targeted. If I did not pay by direct debit and had been expecting a rebate, I would have been more vulnerable.’

Our say on TV licence scams

It would appear the timing of this phishing email was a coincidence, as a few members have recently alerted us about similar communications.

Whenever you receive an email from a company, check whether the email address appears unusual. If you hover over the link and it directs to an unusual domain, that’s another tell-tale sign of a scam.

Never click on a link in an email you think may be suspicious or reply to the sender. Be aware that TV Licensing will never email to ask for bank details or personal information.

If you have any doubts about the sender of an email, contact the company by phone or go directly to its website.

Have you heard of this TV licence refund scam before? Have you ever been offered a refund that turned out to be a scam?


I have to add to that , instead of clicking on an email link even if you input the URL yourself ,if your computer is “under the influence” of malware/ or your search engine is a route diverter meaning you usually get presented with a webpage of adverts instead of where you want to go , like the now nearly defunct ASK search engine or even without that “help ” you can still click on a malware website set up to look like the real thing , so as I have said before –install HTTPS Everywhere for a start.

brian killick says:
29 March 2017

Yup I never click on any link even ebay/ Paypal etc before phoning. Got one from the FBI the other day to click on ? saying that they had intercepted a ‘Box’ full of money with my name on it !- Makes a change from winning millions in Nigeria or some such . TV licencing itself is a ‘Rip off’ if you move house. They ask you to set up Direct debit- so you do in amongst all the other things to do. They take 2 months – so you pay for a full year in 6 months. Then they carry on taking ? if you are not careful ! the only way round this is to pay for a full year , or 1/4 rly = £37 per 1/4 . all this money goes to the GOV ? who give a bit to BBC etc. The GOV has £1billion yup ! in a trust fund ? DO you trust a GOV with a trust fund ?

As somebody doesn’t like me informing the public about the way the internet rogues operate , I will add more . By visiting a rogue website you can be open to exploitation which is a piece of code that takes advantage of security flaws in an app or system so that cybercriminals can use it financially to their benefit . Those exploits are hosted on a website invisibly and automatically fingerprint your ENTIRE computer looking for any security flaws -aka -vulnerabilities ,when discovered they use a pre-built code to deliver malware into your computer ,the exploit itself doesn’t deliver malware it just looks for an open door to download malware via another programme . Cybercriminals use popular websites with high traffic , an ad with a hidden virus-aka -malvertising immediately re-directs you to an invisible landing page that is hosting the exploit kit , once there it-game over– for your computer -ransomware is just one of the types of malware . Worst infected (verified ) IE-Flash-Java-Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office . I have a lot more info on this including various blockers that stop re-direction – block malware domains etc if anybody is interested , I hope this upsets some more rogue hackers.

N Mapp says:
1 November 2017

I have received the BBC refund from the UK and know it must be a scam. Wanted to report it to the fraud / attempted fraud web site which is supposed to pass it to the police. You have to phone them on an 0300 number as the links to their on-line reporting does not work. I am not about to do that as I live in the Philippines! Looks like another scam to report a scam to me.

Doug Zinn says:
19 September 2018

The best way to check if an email is a scam is hover over the links, DON’T CLICK them or do anything else, at the bottom of the screen it will show the full url of the link, if it looks in any way suspicious, ie the url is gobbledygook and has no ‘real’ name relating to the supposed sender of the email, leave well alone. web search for who deals with phishing or scam emails for the company or association that supposedly sent it to you. They all have a department that deals in this stuff and need it to be reported to them so they can take appropriate action, if they don’t know they can’t get it stopped!
Problem here is that there is no ‘anti phishing’ contact for UK TV Licensing, presumably they don’t have the money to fund the operation!!! Yeah right!!! As if!!! Considering UK tV Licensing only funds the BBC, it is a rip off, more so when one considers that the service is supposed to be for the people, except they don’t listen to what the people actually want. On top of that they pay the head people way too much for what they do, and the ‘top’ presenters/broadcasters far to much considering what they do in comparison to others in the community, doctors nurses firefighters etc etc etc!!!

Further to my earlier post; any phishing emails received in the UK or reporting to be from the UK should be sent to Action Fraud, a UK Police unit dealing with this stuff. Visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_phishing and fill in the online form, they will take it from there. They do not have an email address to forward the email to.
Don’t forget to delete the email after, and delete it from the trash too!