Be vigilant against the scammers

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RESIDENTS are being reminded to stay vigilant after an ongoing council tax scam reared its ugly head again.

In a variation on a known scam, members of the public have been called by someone claiming to be from a national council tax authority and told they have been selected from thousands of people to receive a refund of council tax.

Northumberland Trading Standards put out a warning in November, but the scam is ongoing and residents are urged not to give out any personal details to callers, especially bank details.

Alan Kirsop, head of Northumberland Trading Standards, said: “Council tax is collected at a local level, not by a national body, so if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a national council tax authority, please put the phone down and do not give out your bank details under any circumstances.”

Coun Alan Thompson, executive member for public protection, added: “If you think you may have been a victim of a scam and you have given your bank details out, contact your bank or building society immediately.

“You should always be on your guard when passing your details on to anyone and be aware that scammers can be very convincing.”

The council is advising residents who are in doubt to ask please ask callers for their name and extension and then call 0845 600 6400 to speak to them. People are asked not to ring a direct line number, the council’s contact centre will advise if the number given is genuine.