Hackney Council is asking residents to be on the alert about a scam currently operating in the borough. The call came from the Trading Standards team.
The scam involves calls and emails from individuals claiming to be from the council or the treasury, calling to inform residents they have either paid too much, or insufficient, council tax. They ask for bank details in order to make a refund or collect payment. According to the council’s website, “In some instances, residents are being asked to contribute a charitable donation via Western Union.”
The council states: “In most cases the council tax office will notify residents of any refunds due in writing. On occasion the Council Tax office will phone residents to discuss payment. However a genuine council officer will already have all the necessary information and will not require confirmation of bank details.
Peter Chua, marketing and communications manager of the National Fraud Authority said: “Be cautious about giving away your personal or bank details over the phone and never disclose password type information such as PINs. You can also take extra precaution by checking with the council and contacting them directly to verify if such a rebate exists.”
Hackney Council has advised residents with doubts about the authenticity of such calls to take the caller’s name and extension number and call the council’s switchboard to ask for the same extension number.
Similar warnings were given to residents earlier in the year in by Lewisham and Enfield Councils when they posted messages on their websites to warn local residents in the area.
If you have been a victim of this fraud or are aware of this fraud happening, you should contact Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or reporting it online at www.actionfraud.org.uk.
By Belinda Otas