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Bogus council tax phone calls warning 06.01.11

Residents are being warned about telephone fraudsters who are using bogus council tax refunds as bait to obtain sensitive financial information.

It comes after a householder in Carshalton was contacted by an official claiming to be from the "Lord Mayor's Office in London" saying she was in line for a £7,000 council tax refund.

The caller managed to obtain the woman's date of birth and home address but when he asked for her bank details, she became suspicious and hung up.

Then a man in Sutton was contacted by a caller from "British Council Tax" offering a refund because five years of council tax had already been paid in full.

He refused to give any details and contacted Sutton Council, saying the caller was rude to him when the conversation ended.

Householders have now been urged to be on alert amid fears an organised gang is targeting the borough.

Cllr John Drage, Executive Member for Finance and Efficiency, said: "Clearly British Council Tax or the Lord Mayor of London have nothing to do with council tax payments, while Sutton Council itself would never approach people in this way.

"Phone calls such as these are designed to trick people into parting with their money. Unexpected callers may sound convincing, but we would strongly urge anyone receiving such a phone call never to give out any personal information, and certainly not bank details. If you are suspicious about a caller, terminate the call and ring us on the number below.

"It's important that people are on their guard against these unscrupulous individuals who are operating in the area."

Anyone who suspects they have been subject to the scam should report the call to Sutton Council's Revenue and Benefits team on 020 8409 7100.

Last updated: Thursday, 20 January 2011

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