There's a new scam coming to a town near you...

16 May 2011

londonIt seems the good old Nigerian Prince and Security Breach phishing email scams have had their day. There’s a new scam in town, and it’s coming to a local authority near you...

First spotted by the BBC in Cardiff, the so-called ‘Council Tax Scam’ soon spread to the county town of Bedford, according to the Bedfordshire on Sunday paper. Investgators are baffled as to how anyone could fall for such a bogus operation.

The scam is simple. Some unscrupulous sorts obtain a telephone directory. They then call people at random and tell them that they are eligible for a ‘once in a lifetime council tax refund’. And all these gullible people have to do is hand over their bank details.

However, reports suggest that people in Cardiff and Bedford are not as stupid as previously thought. One man, from Putnoe, Bedford said: “It was laughable, the refund bit apart, they must think people are really so stupid.”

Cardiff Councillor Mark Stephens said "If something sounds too good to be true it probably is."

Still, the scam seems to be sweeping the country in search of ever more stupid citizens. Will it be coming to your town anytime soon? Will you be the next victim of “very convincing” tactics by the scammers? If you live in the town of Twatt, on the Mainland of Orkney, you'd better beware..

So what can you do if you are targeted? Well, Bedford Council are urging people to contact Trading Standards via Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 and Cardiff Council are directing people to Consumer Direct Wales on 0808 156 6736. Call me cynical, but I am guessing these are not going to be registered traders, which may mean Trading Standards face an uphill struggle.

So remember kids-in the infamous words of Shaw Taylor- keep ‘em peeled.

This post forms part of the Bitterwallet Care in the Community campaign. Yes, we know people shouldn’t be so idiotic as to hand over their bank details willy nilly to anyone who phones, but some people clearly are. If you know anyone who is at risk of falling for such a scam, please give us their phone number.

TOPICS:   Tax

4 comments

  • Grassy T.
    I'm confused - how will the scammers take money out of the account. A sort code and account number wont be much use unless they are taking it by Direct Debit - in which case they should be very traceble.
  • Darren
    "If you know anyone who is at risk of falling for such a scam, please give us their phone number." Sorry, but bitterwallet does not have a phone number, they do all their bidding by foxes....
  • zacspeed
    Am I missing the point here? how can anyone take money from your account by having your bank details? Account name, number & sort codes aren't sufficiant to withdraw cash? This is the main reason most sellers on Ebay won't accept direct bank transfers as payment as they (wrongly) assume these details aren't safe to give out.
  • Sawyer
    Bank details are sufficient to set up a false Direct Debit, although I think some further trickery is involved. A few years back, Jeremy Clarkson published his bank details in his newspaper column - to prove that you can only pay into an account - and someone successfully used them to set up a £500 Direct Debit from his account to a diabetes charity.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment