UK Gmail and Outlook users placed on red alert – delete these emails

Thousands of email users have been targeted by a nasty new scam that has begun circulating around the UK – and falling for it could put your personal details in the hands of cyber crooks.

In a bid to fool as many people as possible, hackers are currently using the TV Licence as a way of stealing data, with emails arriving in inboxes that suggest accounts are about to expire or payments have not been taken.

These messages look just like official correspondence from TV Licensing but clicking on any of the links takes unsuspecting users to fake websites where details are then extracted.

The security team at Action Fraud said it had received more than 6,000 reports about TV Licensing scams since the beginning of the year.

“Action Fraud has received 6,307 reports in two weeks relating to fake emails purporting to be from TV Licensing,” the group said in a message on X, formerly Twitter. “The emails state the recipient’s TV Licence is about to expire, or that there was an issue with their latest payment.

“The links provided in the email lead to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal your personal information.”

It is now wise to check your inbox and delete any messages that claim your TV Licence has expired or there is a problem with the payment.

If you are unsure if the message is real, Action Fraud says you should contact TV Licensing directly and not via any details within the email, as these could also be fake.

“If you have doubts about a message, contact the organisation directly. Don’t use the numbers or address in the message – use the details from their official website,” added Action Fraud.

“Your bank (or any other official source) will never ask you to supply personal information via email.

It is also worth noting that if you spot a suspicious email, you can forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) via [email protected].

Google also has some top tips on how to avoid so-called phishing scams.

In a post on its website, the technology giant said: “Phishing is an attempt to steal personal information or break into online accounts using deceptive emails, messages, ads or sites that look similar to sites you already use. For example, a phishing email may look as though it’s from your bank and request private information about your bank account.”

Phishing messages or content might ask for your personal or financial information, ask you to click links or download software, or impersonate a reputable organisation – such as your bank, a social media site you use or your workplace. It could also impersonate someone you know, such as a family member, friend or co-worker and look exactly like a message from an organisation or person you trust.

Tips to avoid phishing messages and content

1. Pay attention to warnings from Google

2. Never respond to requests for private information

3. Do not enter your password after clicking on a link in a message

4. Beware of messages that sound urgent or too good to be true

5. Stop and think before you click

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