There are many different types of scams but they all have the same purpose - to get their victims to part with their money.
We are advising everyone to be vigilant to protect themselves and vulnerable people from scams and crooks seeking to take advantage during the COVID-19 national emergency. Top tips for spotting a scam and staying safe online:
- Try to liaise only with people you know. For some we recognise this may be difficult so if you need assistance contact your local councillor, a local community group or the CVS (Council for Voluntary Service).
- Do not hand over a bank card to anyone who offers to collect shopping or prescriptions for you - use small amounts of cash only. Some fraudsters are offering to do shopping for residents, taking large amounts of money and then not returning with the goods, or taking a shopping list along with a bank card and a PIN and not returning. This would be considered as theft and should be reported to the police.
- If a cold-caller says they are from a community organisation, ask for some ID or verify their identity by calling the organisation directly, not the number on the ID card.
- No legitimate organisation will contact you out of the blue and ask for payment information. Do not give your bank or credit card details to anyone unless you know who they are and you know what you are getting for your money.
- Resist the temptation to respond to phishing emails - once you respond to bogus promotions, your name and address is likely to be placed on other lists for similar scams.
If you spot a scam tell your family and friends so that they don’t get conned.
The Citizen's Advice Bureau website has useful information on how to spot and protect yourself from scams (opens in new window).
For more information, read the Government's guidance for staying safe online (opens in new window).
Council Tax scams
There are a number of scams related to Council Tax. Typically, these involve you getting a message or a phone call saying that you are entitled to a refund and asking for card or bank details to send the refund to.
You may get a message from us reminding you that a payment is due, but we won’t contact you asking for bank details for a refund.
If you get do a phone call or message about a refund and asking for such details, it's a scam. Put the phone down if it's a call. If it's a text or email, don't click on any links, open any attachments, or fill in any form details.
If you have already given your bank details or you think your account has been used by someone else fraudulently, you should contact your bank immediately.
Please contact us if you think you should get a refund.
Sadly scammers are also sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails which attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive information about themselves such as personal and financial details.
Phishing emails have claimed to be from organisations affiliated with the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). There have also been some variations on current scams, with fake emails appearing to be from HMRC offering a tax rebate due to coronavirus.
Look out for suspicious emails. Do not click on the links or attachments and do not respond to any unsolicited messages or calls asking for your personal or financial details.
Reporting a crime
Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Get advice by calling 0808 223 11 33 or fill out their online reporting form (opens in new window).
If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, call 0300 123 2040 or report it online on the Action Fraud website (opens in new window).
The Citizens Advice Consumer Service will notify Trading Standards. Action Fraud will collate the information and pass it on to the Police service where the issues are originating from.