Beware of council tax phone scam

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Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards Service is urging residents to be on their guard following a complaint about a council tax telephone scam.

The caller claimed to be phoning from National Commissioning Authority and was offering to arrange council tax rebates.

To reduce the risks of falling for cold-call scams, Trading Standards has the following tips:

○ Be wary of unsolicited callers suggesting or implying that you are due a refund or other money;

○ Never provide your personal details or bank or credit card details;

○ Don’t take unsolicited calls when you are busy and can’t give the salesman your full attention – if you want to talk, ask them to call back at a convenient time;

○ Don’t agree to something to get rid of a persistent caller;

○ If you’re not clear about who you are speaking to, terminate the call.

Coun John Riddle, Cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “It’s sad that there are people out there who devote so much time and effort to ripping off other people. The council would never contact a resident in this manner to issue a refund.”

Anyone who receives one of these calls and would like further advice should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the council and you are unsure, ask them for their name and extension and then call the council on 0345 600 6400 to speak to them.

Do not ring a direct line number if you are unsure of who you are dealing with; the council’s contact centre will know if the number given is genuine.