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Consumer Rights.

Updated: 4 Mar 2021

How to spot DVLA scams

The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is often used by scammers to try to trick you into handing over your money or personal information. Find out the tell-tale signs and how to stay safe.
Which?Editorial team
How to spot DVLA scams

Scammers often pose as the DVLA to try to trick you into handing over your money, banking details or personal information.

They do this in a variety of ways - but the most common methods are through text scams or email scams.

Remember: the DVLA never sends texts or emails which ask you to confirm personal information or payment details via a link.

If you get this, do not open any links and delete it immediately.

DVLA text scams

The DVLA itself says it doesn’t send text messages with links asking for payment details or advising of a refund.

These can come from random numbers or appear to come from the DVLA in the name if the scammer has 'number spoofed' the official number.

Here we outline some of the common DVLA text scams.

DVLA final request text scam

This scam will usually have capitalised letters such as ‘ACTION REQUIRED’ or ‘FINAL REQUEST’ along with a link.

DVLA vehicle tax refund scam

Another common scam text warns you about an outstanding vehicle-tax refund and usually includes the amount you're supposedly owed, eg £53.20 and a link.

DVLA trying to contact you text scam

In this scam text, you’re told that the DVLA has been trying to contact you and that your action is required, along with a link.

DVLA email scams

Scammers won’t stop at just texting to try to trick you into handing over your savings - they’ll also try email you.

The DVLA says it doesn’t send emails with links, so if you get one from someone pretending to be from them you should report it to Action Fraud then delete immediately. If you have clicked on the link, we can guide you through what to do.

Here we detail some of the more common DVLA email scams.

DVLA failed payment email scam

This scam will often come with a subject line along the lines of: ‘Your latest vehicle tax failed’ with an ID number.

The body of the email will then tell you that your latest vehicle tax failed to be processed because your billing details have change or expired.

The emails look official because it says the DVLA will automatically try to bill you in five working days and prompts you to follow a link where you can update your details.

It will also threaten you with a fine of up to £1,000 if you don’t pay on time - this is the legitimate fine for untaxed vehicles, which makes the scam emails evermore convincing.

DVLA not up-to-date with vehicle tax email scam

This scam email will come to you with a subject line along the lines of: ‘You are not up to date with your vehicle tax’ and include an item reference number.

The body of the email will say that according to their records, you’re not up to date with your vehicle tax and include a warning about ‘unpleasant consequences’ if you don’t pay.


The email will include a link prompting you to start the process.

Again, this is all a rouse to get you to get your payment details.

Key Information

Good to know: only use websites which end in ‘gov.uk’

Scammers have been known to make fake websites which look very official, so if you’re looking for information from the DVLA online, look at the URL and make sure it ends in ‘gov.uk’.

What to do if you’ve followed any links or handed over payment details

If you’ve already clicked a link in what you know realise was a DVLA scam text or email, don’t input any personal or card details.

But if you’ve already put in your bank details or card information, you should contact your bank or card provider immediately.

You should also report any calls, texts, emails or suspicious online activity to the Police via Action Fraud immediately.

You can do this by using their online reporting tool or by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

If you’ve already lost money to a scam, not all hope might be lost - especially if you act quickly. We can help you with how to get your money back after being scammed.