Phone Scam Warning

Local residents are being warned to be aware of scam calls and emails about council tax. It comes from Argyll and Bute Council’s Trading Standards team after reports of attempted frauds.

One local resident has reported a call from what appeared to be a London-based number, insisting the household was paying the wrong level of council tax. There have also been reports of callers offering refunds, and others have been sent emails asking them to provide information via an online link to claim money back.

People who get a call are told they will get the refund if they pay £74 and are then asked to call a number. The number is not in the UK and is likely to be very costly for anyone calling it. Scammers are also contacting people by email. The message claims the recipient is due a refund and it can be accessed by clicking on a link and confirming personal details before cash is transferred.

Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services, Councillor David Kinniburgh, said: “These scams are widespread but have been reported to us in Argyll and Bute. “The Council would never contact you to ask for personal information or discuss your level of council tax.

“Please heed Trading Standards’ advice – don’t reply to these emails as your information could be sold to other scammers or even used for identity theft, and hang up the phone if you suspect a scam. “If you receive a call asking you to call back to claim a rebate, ignore it. You can check with us whether the call or message you’ve received is legitimate, but it’s most likely to be fraudulent.

“Too many people are being conned out of their hard-earned cash – we’ve all heard the awful stories of people thinking calls and emails are legitimate and paying the price. The elderly and vulnerable are a particular target of these scammers but they are so plausible, anyone could be taken in. “Don’t let yourself be one of them.”

If you receive any suspicious correspondence about council tax refunds, please report it to the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.

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