Scammers are using the Government’s Council Tax rebate scheme to target vulnerable people and empty their bank accounts. The Government has given people across the country £150 towards their energy bills after a huge rise in the cost of gas and electricity at the start of April.
In England the money is coming in the form of a rebate off Council Tax payments. But consumer champions Which? has warned that scammers are using the scheme to steal cash. The Local Government Association has warned of a recent spate of cold calls offering energy rebates are scams.
According to Which?, the scammers claim to be associated with the council and explain a refund is due. They then ask for your bank details in order to pay out the £150 rebate.
But people who have given out their details have seen large sums of money deducted from their bank accounts shortly after the phone call. The Local Government Association has said councils don’t ask for bank details over the phone.
All households in England in council tax bands A to D will be eligible for the rebate, which isn’t means tested and doesn’t need to be repaid. Those who pay for council tax by direct debit will receive the money directly into their bank account. If you don’t pay your council tax via direct debit then you will be sent a letter with details of how to claim.
Which? says variations of the scam are also being sent by email and text message.
A spokesman said: “Don’t be tempted to respond to these texts and emails, if you don’t currently pay your council tax by direct debit, you should wait to receive your letter from the council that will explain how to claim the rebate.”