Warning over Council Tax refund phone scam that cons you into handing over bank details

Fraudsters attempt to trick potential victims over the phone, claiming that they are owed a refund on their bills.

The tricksters tell victims they can get the extra credit back in cash as long as they provide their bank details.

But instead of transferring the money, the fraudsters use the information you provide to steal your funds.

The warning has been issued by Essex Trading Standards who say: "Never take up offers of tax rebate on the spot from cold calls or give out bank details."

The organisation also urges victims to report the scam to Action Fraud.

Scammers often use this time of year, where many Brits are in a post-Christmas financial slump, to target potential victims via phishing scams.

This is where con artists pretend to be from a legitimate business in an attempt to get you to hand over your personal details.

Criminals are also known to impersonate HMRC at the start of the year, when many business owners are working to file their tax returns.

If you receive an email, phone call or message via social media claiming to be from the taxman then you should check with the firm whether it is genuine before following any instructions.

Netflix users has also being warned not to fall for fake emails asking customers to update their payment details.

Scammers are also getting more creative, including ones that target drivers with poor credit scores with fake adverts for car leases on social media.

Others are also tricking people into handing over their bank and card details with fake TV licensing emails.

How to avoid phone scams

  • Verify their identity: Ask them to give you details that only the company will know, such as contract details, payment details or bank account details. If you're still not convinced, hang up and contact the company directly from a different phone.
  • Asked to share personal details? Never share your personal details with anyone you can't validate is who they say they are.
  • Trust your instinct: If the deal sounds too good to be true, it's often a scam.
  • Resist demands to act quickly: Anyone presenting a legitimate opportuniy will allow you time to consider your response.

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