Police and Teignbridge District Council are warning residents not to divulge their personal details over the phone as bogus callers target the area.
Fraudsters have contacted residents informing them that they may be eligible for a Council Tax refund, before asking them for their bank account details.
Any resident who has given their account or card details to a caller like this should contact their bank immediately. The caller has then said they will process their refund if they provide their bank account details. Luckily none of them parted with their bank account details.
In one instance, a caller posed from a company advising that properties are being re-valued for council tax purposes and then asks questions about the age of the property, how long they have lived there and if there is street lighting.
Teignbridge District Council may occasionally ask for payment details by phone when seeking payments for overdue tax bills, but will always be happy for residents to phone back via the Council’s switchboard, or use the automated payment line on 01626 215353.
Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council’s executive spokeswoman for housing and health, including revenue and benefits, said: “We are urging our residents to stay vigilant against call scams like this, and remind them that Teignbridge District Council does not contact people by phone to offer Council Tax refunds.
“While we will sometimes ask for financial details to collect payment for an overdue bill, we will always be happy for you to phone us back or use our automated payment line instead.
“Our advice is to always ask the caller’s name and if you are in doubt at all don’t be fooled into giving away private information, please hang up and call the Council back directly.
“These kinds of scams are not seen often in Teignbridge but we do have the occasional outbreak and I would encourage everyone to be really careful about what they give away on the phone. If in doubt, disclose nothing.”
Devon and Cornwall Police’s Teignbridge and South Hams Detective Inspector Jim Tarr, said: “This is a heartless and callous fraud with the offenders often targeting elderly and vulnerable people who trusting of council representatives. We are urging the public, especially the elderly, to be aware of this fraud and not to go along with it.
“If the council have made a legitimate call offering any payment, then please call them back. We would also like to take this opportunity to remind the public of similar scams involving the police and bank officials.
“Please remember your bank will never attend your home. Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card or cash. Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN number.”
Anyone with any information about fraud can contact Police on 101 or alternatively contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Residents can also report any suspect calls to Teignbridge District Council on 01626 361101.