Cheshire East Council is warning residents to be on their guard against a Council Tax ‘refund’ scam.
The fraud works by an email being sent from REFUND@direct.gov.uk claiming individuals are eligible for a Council Tax refund and asks for confidential bank and credit card details and passwords. The email also implies association with local government.
Cheshire East Council never texts or emails residents to request personal information. If refunds are due or there is any change to a resident’s bill then statements will be sent through the post.
The Council is urging residents to not give out their bank or credit card details, as this potentially gives unscrupulous people access to your money.
Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “This is a total scam. We are warning residents not to get sucked into filling in forms and giving away financial or personal information to unscrupulous conmen.
“Unfortunately, some people may be taken in. However, Cheshire East Council never texts or emails residents in this way to request personal or financial information.
“If refunds are due, or there is any change in your bill, then statements will be sent through the post. We either refund the money direct if you pay by direct debit or by cheque sent to the bill payer's address.
“We have alerted Cheshire police to this issue and would urge people to be vigilant. If you receive this scam email you should delete it and not complete the form and contact the police.”
Anyone who receives such a message should not reply to it. Scams like this should be reported at www.actionfraud.police.uk which is the Police's dedicated website for reporting fraud and internet crime. You can also contact them on 0300 123 2040.
If you suspect you have been the victim of a Council Tax scam telephone the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 to report it and to get advice.