December 21, 2021 In prevent, scams

DVLA scams: Easy ways to prevent being caught out over email and text by fraudsters

It’s normal to be contacted by the DVLA, which is why impersonating the licensing agency can be such rich pickings for fraudsters, especially when substantial sums of money are involved

A woman on the phone

Fraudulent messages are circulating online trying to tick you of your cash

Scams are everywhere and these days are most likely to be digital. They will surprise you while you are in your own home and look to extract money from you in any way they can.

Between December 2020 and May 2021, 3,157 fraudulent emails and texts purporting to be from the DVLA were reported, a 12% rise on the previous year.

In 2020 there was a record rise in the number of scams between July and September, with a 531% increase from 603 to 3807.

The best way to prevent falling into the trap of a scam is to know what to look out for, so read on for commonly used DVLA scams. Both texts and emails are commonly used to make sure you get familiar with both.

Common DVLA text scams

Know what to look out for


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Read on for the common forms of text scams, which usually try and cause panic and prompt you to click a link as a reaction to it.

DVLA last request

If you get a link with the words ‘final request’ or ‘action reacquired’ it is likely it’s a scam. These words are often in all capitals and will be accompanied by a link which you should not under any circumstances click.

DVLA trying to get hold of you

Similar to the above, except it will say the DVLA has been trying to get in touch with you and you need to now follow the link provided to pick up the correspondence.

It will tell you action is required on your part. Do nothing.

DVLA tax refunds

If you receive a message about an outstanding vehicle tax refund and a link to claim it, it is also likely a scam.

Do not click the link.

Common DVLA email scams

As well as trying to fool you via email, scammers have also been known to try and access peoples’ details by sending fraudulent messages to their email accounts.

DVLA Failed payment

It is likely this email will be headed by a subject along the lines of ‘your latest vehicle tax has failed’.

It is also likely to include an ID number and details that your payment has failed due to incorrect details, like a changed address or expired billing details.

It says the DVLA will automatically bill you if you do not pay within five days and threatens a £1,000 fine if you don’t pay on time. Because this is the actual amount of untaxed vehicles that are fine, it can appear quite convincing.

DVLA is not up to date with vehicle tax

This email is likely to have a subject along the lines of ‘You are not up to date with your vehicle tax’ and will include a bogus reference number.

Unpleasant consequences will be threatened if you do not update your vehicle tax records.

It will also include a link that, again, you should not click.

What happens if you click on a scam link?

If you do accidentally click on the link, do not input any details about yourself. Close the page.

If you have already put in card details, contact your bank immediately.

If you are a victim of fraud you can report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by following this online reporting link.

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