Tom Brake Asks Public to Beware Council Tax Scam

January 13, 2011 1:30 PM

Tom Brake is warning Sutton residents to be aware of a Council Tax scam being perpetrated across the country, after a constituent contacted him to report a suspicious phone call from someone who suggested she might qualify for a Council Tax rebate.

Tom checked and discovered that Trading Standards had issued a scam warning in December after receiving similar reports from other members of the public. Those targeted had received calls, both in person and on the phone, from people saying they could obtain them rebates or reductions in their Council Tax bill.

Some callers pretend an overpayment of Council Tax has been made and the overpaid amount can be refunded if the victim provides their bank details. Other scammers say they are from the Valuation Office Agency, or council officials, who tell them they are eligible for thousands of pounds in a Council Tax rebate.

In most cases, victims are asked to give their credit card or bank account details so the money can be refunded. There have been cases where the caller has asked for a one-off administration fee so the refund can be processed. Any residents who have given their bank details to a caller like this should contact their bank immediately.

Tom is now trying to warn people so that they avoid falling into the fraudsters' trap:

'Always be careful when giving out personal information. If someone cold-calls you offering a deal like this, call the police to report them and let Sutton council know too. These people are just trying to con you into handing over your bank details so they can steal money.'

You should also report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud.

While councils do offer refunds on genuine Council Tax payments, these refunds are given free of charge. You should never be asked to pay a fee to receive a refund. If you think you might be eligible for a refund, contact your local council directly.

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