RESIDENTS are being warned not to fall for a fake TV licence email offering a refund. 

Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, says fraudsters have been using a convincing looking website to steal victims' bank account details.

And there has been a sharp increase in reports of the scam in the past few days.

A spokesman added: "There have been over 100 reports about these scam emails in the past few days that appear to have been constantly evolving.

"They claim that TV Licencing have been trying to get hold of recipients regarding an overpayment refund or that due to invalid account details a credit was not possible."

The refund links lead to cloned TV Licencing websites that are designed to harvest bank account and credit card details.

TV Licensing’s tips for spotting a scam email

Check the email contains your name – TV licensing will always include your name in any emails they send you.

Check the email subject line - anything along the lines of "Action required", "Security Alert", "System Upgrade", "There is a secure message waiting for you", and so on, should be treated as suspect.

Check the email address - does the email address look like one that TV Licensing use? For example Look closely as often the address may be similar.

Check for a change in style - often the scammers will take the real emails and amend them. Look out for changes in the wording used, especially if it seems too casual or familiar.

Check for spelling and grammar - are there any spelling mistakes, missing full stops or other grammatical errors?

Check the links go to the TV Licensing website - hover over the links in the email to see their destination and check the web address carefully. If you are not sure, go directly to the TV Licensing website.

Never provide details by email - TV licensing will never ask you to reply to an email and provide bank details or personal information.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.