Scammers are cold calling people and asking for bank details so they receive the government’s £150 energy rebate, councils have warned
The one-off discount is available for most properties in the AD bands, around four-fifths of homes in England.
Criminals are trying to capitalize on the scheme by impersonating government officials over the phone, says the Local Government Association (LGA).
All households that pay council tax by direct debit will receive the refund directly to their bank account, while others will receive a letter with details of the procedure to follow.
Council workers will never ask for bank details over the phone, the LGA said.
He also warned people to remain vigilant and not give out their details after unexpectedly receiving a text, email or phone call asking for personal information or payment.
“Councils are working hard to ensure eligible residents receive their energy refunds as soon as possible, but criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to profit from the financial worries people are facing and, as a result, many of these scams seem legitimate on the first impression,” said Cllr Mohan Iyengar, Deputy Chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Council.
“Anyone can fall victim to a scam, and we urge people of all ages to familiarize themselves with the telltale signs and the support available for those in need.
“If you receive a message that you think is fraudulent, you can report it to your mobile operator or by forwarding the message to 7726, a free reporting service provided by telephone operators. You should also report the scam to Action Fraud to help others avoid being victimized in the future.”