Warning over council tax ‘scam’

TRADING standards chiefs have warned residents not to fall for a council tax scam.

It follows a telephone call that was made to a Hartlepool resident from a bogus council tax officer trying to obtain personal details.

In the hoax, the resident was asked by the fraudster to provide bank account details over the phone so that a council tax refund could be made.

To sound plausible, the fraudsters often know some personal information such as the householders marital status or date of birth.

Beryl Young, from Hartlepool Borough Council’s Trading Standards team, said: “This is just the latest in a long line of scams by tricksters trying to get money and personal details illegally.

“If council officers need to contact anyone to obtain personal details, they will do so in writing to that person’s home address so if anyone receives such a request by telephone or email they should be very suspicious indeed.

“Our advice is that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.”

Throughout February, Hartlepool’s trading standards team is backing a national campaign called Scamnesty to raise awareness of scams, specifically those which involve bogus mailings, holiday offers and fraudulent ticketing websites.

Scamnesty “bins” have been installed in the Hartlepool Central Library, York Road and the Civic Centre on Victoria Road for residents to drop in their scam mailings.

Anyone who believes they have received hoax calls should ring Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 to report the incident.