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Residents are being warned not to give out their bank details over the phone following reports of council tax cold calling scams.

Sandwell Council has received several complaints from people who have received scam calls about their council tax bands and council tax refunds.

The first scam involves a cold call from a company claiming to be able to recover overcharged council tax. The caller tells the householder’s that their council tax band is wrong.

The householder is told if they pay £150 direct from their bank account over the phone, they can get a council tax refund going back to the 1990s.

In another scam, an elderly man was called by someone claiming to be from Sandwell Council, asking for his bank details as he was due a council tax refund. He gave his bank details, but after alerting family, his bank accounts have been secured. He’s not thought to have lost any money.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection Councillor Elaine Costigan said: “If you speak to someone who claims to be from the council, and you are not sure if they are genuine or you're not comfortable giving out your details over the phone, always contact the council yourself directly to make sure it's not a scam. 

“Remember the scam awareness motto – ‘Don’t be rushed, don’t be hushed’.

“If you’re not sure if someone is genuine, don’t part with any money. Get some advice first and talk to someone about what’s going on.”

For help and advice about scams or you’re worried that you may have fallen for a scam, call the Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 04 06.

If you live in Sandwell and you have an enquiry about council tax, go to www.sandwell.gov.uk/counciltax or call 0121 368 1155.

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