Page last updated at 00:14 GMT, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Bogus callers in council tax scam

Telephone keypad
Homeowners are being targeted by telephone and on their doorstep

Bogus callers posing as council staff are luring homeowners into a council tax scam, say council leaders.

Residents are asked for banking details by people who claim they have paid too much or too little council tax.

Warnings have already been issued in Northumberland, Portsmouth, North Tyneside and Stafford.

But trading standards officers are now warning everyone to be on their guard and report any calls or e-mails to their council or police immediately.

Banking details

During the scam, people are contacted over the telephone or on their doorstep and asked for bank details so a council tax refund can be made or to avoid a fine for late payment.

In another scam, residents in Bury were told by bogus callers that they were due a refund because their property had been rebanded.

Redcar and Cleveland Council has warned residents to be on their guard after one man promised homeowners a "no win, no fee" service telling them to expect a £1,500 refund.

Cllr Paul Bettison, chairman of LACORS, the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services, warned that the scam was growing across the country.

"No council would ever contact a resident in this manner on such issues. Homeowners must remain vigilant and if possible, keep a close eye on vulnerable older family members or neighbours," he said.



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