DRIVERS have been warned about a scam text message that could give criminals access to bank accounts in just minutes.

Select Car Leasing has warned that fake messages with links could allow criminals to “immediately transfer" money from your account and into their own.

Phishing scams dupe innocent victims into handing over personal details such as bank information, often by sending messages claiming to be from a legitimate company or organisation.

The scam is so simple drivers could lose thousands of pounds within just a few minutes.

A Select Car Leasing spokesman said: “​​The DVLA recently issued a warning over a sharp rise in fake text messages that read as if they are sent by the agency.

“The texts either warn drivers that their payment details need to be updated or that their road tax is in need of renewal.

“These text messages give recipients a link to re-enter their bank details, potentially giving scammers access to their bank accounts where they can immediately transfer the balance to another account.”

The warning comes just months after the DVLA released images of the type of scam messages purporting to be from it and trying to fool drivers into handing over personal data or making payments to the fraudsters.

The messages usually claim either that a driver has overpaid their car tax and is due a refund or that there has been a problem with a tax payment and they need to log into the fake website to update their information.

The DVLA has also reported seeing scam messages that claim there is a problem with their licence information. Handing over data like this can help criminals committing identity fraud.

Last year there was a massive rise in the number of drivers reporting suspected fraud to the DVLA. In the three months to September 2020, the agency saw a 603 per cent increase in reported cases compared with the same period a year earlier.

Phil Morgan, head of fraud policy investigation at DVLA, said: “These recent scams may at first seem legitimate, however they are designed to trick motorists into providing their personal details. We never ask for bank or credit card details via text message or email, so if you receive something like this, it’s a scam.”

What to do if you’ve been targeted by a phishing scam?

Anyone who has received a suspicious email is being urged to report to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) via their suspicious email service: Suspicious texts can also be forwarded free of charge to your network provider on 7726. You can also report it to Action Fraud or police if you think you have fallen victim to such a scam.

As well as forwarding any suspicious emails and texts, DVLA has five top tips for motorists to stay safe online:

  • Never share driving licence images and vehicle documents online
  • Never share bank details or personal data online
  • Avoid websites offering to connect to DVLA’s contact centre
  • Only use GOV.UK when looking for DVLA contact details
  • Immediately report it to the police via Action Fraud if you think you have been the victim of a scam