MS, disability or age are not reasons to be scammed

Please note: The current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.


Some countries tax everything but many require residents, by law, to pay for an annual licence to watch television.

While this is common in European countries, and others like Japan, it is completely unknown in the US, so my American wife assures me.

In the UK, viewers who choose to watch or record programmes as they are transmitted, whether on a television or other equipment such as a computer. Watching delayed broadcasts, such as on ‘+1’ channels, is exempt from licensing requirement.

If that’s not bad enough, scam artists have come up with ways to try and trick people into giving their confidential bank or credit card information to a scam, or phishing’ website.

Vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with a disease or disability are thought to be most at risk. Sometimes these emails request a ‘missing’ payment while others may offer a refund for an ‘overpayment’ that is supposed to have been made.

And the scammers do their best to make their emails as like genuine ones as they can but not good enough.

Look for mistakes

I have recently received two emails from such scammers, purporting to be from the UK’s tv licensing company. But, for me, the scams were easy to spot. Both emails said I was due a refund for an overpayment made in 2019-2020 (Mistake 1).

email scam

The second TV Licensing scam or phishing email received.

They didn’t address me by name, as the genuine company always does (Mistake 2).

Text says: “You have 24 hours to make your refund.” That does not make sense, it is not even good English (Mistake 3).

They include a box that by clicking it would take me to a different site. The real company has no use for such boxes (Mistake 4).

The sender’s name does not match the ‘signature’ (Mistake 5).

Oh, the first mistake was so obvious because, by the date of the supposed over-payment, I had been living in Spain for four years. A bit of a giveaway.

I may be thought of as vulnerable, with MS, having a disability, and aged in my late 60s, but I didn’t get caught out. Nor should you.

Please, if you or anyone you know receives any official looking email, from anywhere, don’t fall for the scammers’ tricks. Whatever it says, they are after your money.

If in any doubt about the veracity of any email you receive, check with the real company or agency it purports to be from.

The USA’s Federal Trade Commission has a website devoted to helping you detect these fraudulent emails here. The UK has a similar site here, while other countries have their own sites.

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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre                              not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)                  Colour                              not color                                                                                                                      Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                                                                  Haematology                not hematology                                                                                Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.


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