A warning has been issued by Southwark Council about fraudsters targeting residents with a bogus tax-rebate scam.
Fraudsters were reported to have been emailing, texting and calling people about claims they are eligible for a tax rebate.
The fraudsters will demand an “advance-fee payment” before offering to process a rebate claim.
The warning came after Action Fraud reported a sharp increase in the number of reports relating to fake council tax refunds in the last few weeks.
Councillor Fiona Colley, cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance, said: “Fraudsters use a variety of techniques to con unsuspecting victims out of their hard-earned cash.
“Scammers can call, email and text you to make their claims appear more legitimate. In order to prevent residents from falling foul of these scams, it is important to know how to spot the signs.”
How to protect yourself:
- Never respond to unsolicited phone calls
- Your local council won’t ever phone out-of-the-blue to discuss a council tax rebate, if you receive a call of this nature, put the phone down straight away.
- Don’t give your bank account details or sensitive information to anyone without carrying out your own research on them.
- Get independent financial advice before claiming any form of tax refund.
- Check the caller’s credentials. Ask if they have a permanent business address and landline telephone number. Any mobile numbers given by fraudsters are often pay-as-you-go numbers which are virtually impossible to trace.
- No legitimate organisation will ask you to pay an advanced fee in order receive money; so never give them your card details.
- If you think you have been a victim of fraud, hang up the phone and wait five minutes to clear the line as fraudsters sometimes keep the line open. Then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud. Where it is possible use a different phone line to make the phone call.
If you think you have been a victim of this type of scam you should report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.