Residents urged to beware of Council Tax and parking fine scams
Hackney Council is warning residents to beware of two scams currently being reported.
Council Tax rebate scam
Scammers pretending to be from Hackney Council have been contacting residents by text or phone asking them to provide bank details in order to process a Council Tax rebate.
The Government announced that Council Tax payers in Band A to D properties will receive £150 to support them with rising energy costs.
This payment will be made automatically by the Council to residents who pay Council Tax by Direct Debit. The Council is working on an online application portal for non-Direct Debit payers.
And while the Council is encouraging people to sign up to pay Council Tax by Direct Debit, it will never ask residents to share details - such as bank card numbers or pin numbers - over the phone.
Residents who believe they have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, should report it directly to Action Fraud here: actionfraud.police.uk; or by calling: 0300 123 2040.
You can also report any scam texts to your phone operator by forwarding them to 7726.
Parking fine scam
There have also been reports that residents have received emails from scammers asking them to pay a parking fine.
These emails originate from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ to make it appear as though they have been sent from the Ministry of Justice.
They ask residents to download ‘photographic evidence and forms for making payment’. However, the attachment is likely to contain a virus.
Tips to avoid falling victim to scams:
1. Always remember: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Keep your personal information safe. Never give anyone your bank PIN or National Insurance number and shred or tear up any letters that include your personal details — don’t just throw them in the bin.
3. Keep safe online. Change your passwords regularly and make them as complex as you can remember. Install the latest anti-virus protection on all your devices.
4. Be suspicious of ‘cold callers’ — anyone trying to sell you goods or services on your doorstep or over the phone where you haven’t asked them to make contact. If you have any concerns, tell them politely but firmly that you are not interested, and close the door or put the telephone down. Never get drawn into extended conversation, as fraudsters will use that ploy to try to persuade you to buy goods, often against your better judgment.