Phone scam: Council warns residents

FRAUDSTERS are posing as council employees in an effort to steal bank details from residents living in Uttlesford.

A warning has been sent out after a number of homes were targeted by con artists who call homes and claim to have a council tax rebate for them – they then ask for details.

Vera Arness, 50, from Thaxted, was one person who was recently in the sights of the criminals. She said: “They ask lots of personal questions and told me I was owed eight years of council tax. I didn’t fall for it and, after typing their phone number into Google, I found hundreds of people have been duped by the same people.

“It is a big scam, and it worries me because if it had of been my parents, who are in their eighties, they may have fallen for it.

“I am a widow with just one child and to think they might steal from people in my situation is just awful.”

After hearing Mrs Arness’s story, we notified Uttlesford District Council which has put further warnings to residents and urged them not to give out any details to random callers.

Principal council tax officer Sue Ellis said: “We urge residents to be on their guard and get in touch with the council and Trading Standards immediately if they have any concerns.

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“Residents should be very wary of giving any bank account details over the phone. Occasionally the council may have to ring a resident to verify submitted details but this would only be in response to information that the resident had already sent to the council.”

The recent spate follows another back in March, but residents who receive such calls can contact Uttlesford District Council’s council tax team or the National Consumer Advice line (Trading Standards) on 0845 404 0506.

Mrs Ellis added: “If you are in any doubt at all about the identity of a caller then please stop the phone call and ring the council tax team on 01799 510335 or our customer service centre on 01799 510510 to verify the identity of the person who called you.”

HAVE you been targeted? Write to us. editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk or 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1EE.

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