RESIDENTS in Carmarthenshire are being warned to be on their guard against a new council tax refund scam.
Fraudsters are contacting people via email to tell them that they’re due a council tax reduction running into hundreds of pounds.
The email implies the reduction is due to Covid-19 and because the person is on a low income or receives benefits.
It is extremely convincing and uses the Government’s GOV.UK branding to lull people into a false sense of security.
The scam email includes a link to a fake website where the recipient can claim their ‘apparent’ refund.
However, there is no refund, it is a scam to con people out of money and steal their bank account details.
Delete the email straight away and block the sender, do not reply or click on any links and do not give out any personal information, particularly bank account or debit or credit card details.
The council will never phone, text or email residents to ask for a payment to release a council tax refund. If you have overpaid council tax and can claim a refund, we will write to you.
If you are ever in doubt, phone the council and check; make sure you find the number yourself (don’t use the number stated in the email/text/phone call) and call to confirm.
Executive Board Member for Public Protection Cllr Philip Hughes said: “Cold-hearted criminals are conning people out of their hard-earned cash by persuading them they are eligible for a council tax refund.
“The emails are very convincing as they appear to look official and anyone can be fooled by them. But anyone who is contacted about a council tax reduction which includes a request for personal information and bank details should ignore it and report it.
“Unfortunately, there is an abundance of scams doing the rounds at the moment, with many preying on people’s fears and uncertainty over the coronavirus.
“I would urge people to please be on their guard, if you receive any communications offering financial assistance please be cautious. Think about where the message has come from and check the information is genuine by using official government websites and contacts.
“I would also like to warn these unscrupulous individuals that if caught, we will not hesitate to prosecute them through the courts.”
For further help and advice please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01267 234567.
If you think you have been scammed call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or for advice call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.