CONSUMERS were warned to be vigilant today after it emerged fraudsters were trying to trick people into handing over their bank account details through a council tax scam.
Reports have emerged from across the country of people being approached by telephone or on their doorsteps and told they have either paid too little or too much council tax.
They are then asked to provide details of their bank account, so that a refund can be paid or to avoid a fine for late payment.
Trading standards officers are warning people to be on their guard and report any calls or emails they receive to their local council or the police.
Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services, said: "People must be made aware that this scam is growing across the country.
"No council would ever contact a resident in this manner on such issues. Homeowners must remain vigilant and if possible, keep a close eye on vulnerable older family members or neighbours."
There are a number of variations on the scam, with people in Bury told they were due a refund because their property had been rebranded.
Residents in the area covered by Redcar and Cleveland Council were targeted by a fraudster offering a ’no win, no fee’ service, who promised people a £1,500 refund.
Councils in South Bucks, Northumberland, Fareham, Portsmouth, North Tyneside and Stafford have already warned residents about the scam.