‘Don’t give your details!’ Fraudsters target Britons with council tax rebate scam
Martin Lewis offers advice on council tax rebates
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Specifically, criminals are cold calling people and asking them for their bank details to apparently pay them the £150 council tax rebate. Financial experts, such as Martin Lewis, have also warned about this latest scam which is taking advantage of the new Government scheme. However, local authorities are now stepping up to confirm the reports of council tax rebate scams and are sharing what victims can do to protect themselves.
Fraudsters are posing as council workers to convince taxpayers to share their bank details in order to receive the rebate.
However, councils are reminding their constituents that the majority of tax received is paid by direct debit which means it will be paid automatically.
This means there is no need for anyone to share their bank details over the phone with someone who is calling regarding the council tax rebate.
Anyone who does not pay by this method can call their council directly to set up an alternative payment.
On Twitter, Southwark Council said: “Fraudsters are calling residents and asking for bank details to receive the council tax rebate.
“The council will not call you to ask for these details – we will start contacting residents by letter or email later this month.”
In a similar message, Wakefield Council said: “Please DO NOT give out your bank details over the telephone.
“We are aware of scam calls being made to residents asking for bank details in relation to the Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme.”
Durham County Council added: “Please don’t give your bank details to anyone who calls you about the national council tax rebate scheme.
“We’re aware of a scam but we will not ask for your details as part of this process.”
Cllr Mohan Iyengar, the vice-chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, emphasised that councils are doing their best to mitigate the harm posed by these scams.
Mr Iyengar said: “Councils are working hard to ensure eligible residents receive their energy rebate payments as soon as possible, however criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to take advantage of the financial worries people are facing and as a result many of these scams look legitimate on first impression.
“Anyone can fall victim to a scam, and we urge people of all ages to brush up on the tell-tale signs, and the support available to those who need it.”
The councillor recommends that anyone who believes they have been affected by a similar cold call situation to reach out to Action Fraud, the UK’s premier scam watchdog.
He added: “If you get sent a message that you believe to be fraudulent, you can report it to your mobile phone provider or by forwarding the message to 7726, a free reporting service provided by phone operators.
“You should also report the scam to Action Fraud to help others avoid falling victim in the future.”
Currently, the council tax rebate is worth £150 and is available to all households in bands A to D in England.
This latest means of support for vulnerable Britons has been introduced amidst the issue of rising energy bills which are set to see costs go up by almost £700 within the next year.
All councils have been told they must pay the rebate to eligible households by September 30, 2022. Households do not need to apply for this support.
Despite this, those who do not pay their council tax by direct debit will have to give their local authority their bank details for this to be accomplished.
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