A BBC investigation has revealed fraudsters claiming to work for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are offering licences illegally online.
Imposters working on social media claim to be able to book and pass driving tests without the motorists ever needing to visit a test centre. They advertise both a plastic licence card and test certificate as part of their fraudulent packages. Customers are sent screenshots from the DVLA’s ‘view your licence’ webpage as proof that they have successfully achieved their full driving licence.
However, an investigation by BBC News discovered that the images are only mock-ups and use licence numbers that don’t appear on the DVLA’s database. The DVLA have dismissed the claims as a scam, saying: "Only DVLA can issue a driving licence. We can confirm that the examples seen are not genuine."
The DVLA have issued new guidance to motorists on avoiding identity theft:
- Only use gov.uk websites when looking for information online so you know the service you’re using is legitimate.
- Watch out for scam emails. The DVLA never ask for personal information via email, so if you receive one, ignore it.
- Don’t use third party websites that charge additional fees for services which are free-of-charge on gov.uk websites.
- Never use a premium-rate phone number to call the DVLA. All DVLA contact centre numbers begin with 0300 and are charged at local rates.
- Don’t share images of your licence or vehicle documents on social media, to protect yourself from would-be thieves looking to steal your identity.
- Ignore any text messages about vehicle tax refunds. The DVLA never sends texts, so delete them immediately.
- Report any suspected scams to Action Fraud immediately to help keep you and others safe from fraudsters.
The fraudsters are known to advertise their services on Instagram before asking clients to switch to private messaging on WhatsApp. They ask for their client’s address, date of birth and a passport photo to process their request. The client’s information is then used or sold on.
In a phone call with the BBC, which was covertly recorded, a vendor went into more detail about how the fraud is carried out: "We usually book your test for you and pass it without you actually being there but it's gonna look like you were there."
The BBC spoke to a woman who had taken up a scammer’s offer on Instagram. Having paid the vendor £500, all she received was an image of her licence details.
She told the BBC: "I checked the [licence] details he sent me but it was all fake, I never received no licence just that picture. If you've found him, can you get my money back? I want my money back."