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Keeping Motorists Safe Online

Online scams have been around since the early days of the internet. Today, email, websites, and social media are all used in attempts to deceive members of the public into parting with their personal details and hard earnt money.

Motorists - Don't get hacked!Most people won’t be fooled by an email offering thousands of pounds if you enter your credit card details so the sum can be paid to you. However, both the motor trade and private vehicle owners can fall victim to clever scams targeting drivers of new and used cars.

Many drivers choose to renew their road tax online, through the DVLA website, as a quick and convenient alternative to renewing by post. You should receive a V11 reminder letter from the DVLA when your renewal is nearly due. To make sure you go to the correct website, fill in the web address printed on the letter. You will then be asked to enter the 16-digit reference number listed on your vehicle tax reminder letter. If you visit the DVLA website from an internet search, double check the address bar to make sure you are on the correct website, you should see at the start of the address.

Avoid third party websites offering to take you through the process of renewing your tax or applying for a driving licence, as you will often be charged unnecessary extra fees for using this service.

The DVLA will never send an email asking you to confirm your personal information or payment details, or text you to let you know of a refund on your road tax. When the time to renew your insurance policy is approaching, you are likely to be contacted by motor trade insurance companies and comparison websites, inviting you to ask for a quote. ‘Ghost brokers’ is a term used for criminals who sell false insurance documents to their victims, so do your company checks properly.

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If you do not have a valid insurance policy you may receive penalty points or a hefty fine if your pulled over by the police, or even have your vehicle confiscated and destroyed. Be suspicious of anyone offering an extremely low-cost policies and only buy from official insurance companies and brokers. You can find a list of approved services at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website.

Today, we all need to be wary of sharing too much personal information online, including on social media. Personal details such as your date of birth can be used in identity theft. In the same way, sharing information like vehicle registration documents can allow criminals to use your car’s identity, then you may find yourself receiving fines for offences you did not commit.

If you are, or ever have been a victim of online crime, you should report it as soon as possible to Action Fraud, the UK centre for tackling cybercrime. If you do encounter a scam email claiming to be from the DVLA, or a fraudulent website, you can help crack down on internet fraud by reporting the details to the DVLA.