Martin Lewis issues warning to households expecting council tax rebate
Martin Lewis has issued a warning to households who are expecting to receive the £150 council tax rebate between now and September.
The rebate is available to all households in council tax bands A to D in England, Scotland and Wales to help families cover the rising cost of energy bills.
Councils must pay the money to those who are eligible by 30 September this year, but some have already started to make payouts.
The MoneySavingExpert has warned that scam artists have been using the government scheme as an opportunity to steal people’s bank details.
What has Martin Lewis said?
Mr Lewis is urging households to be wary of cold callers claiming to be from the council asking people to hand over their bank details to seemingly be paid the £150 rebate.
Several councils, including Durham, Wakefield and Southwark, have issued warnings to residents over council tax rebate scams, which see fraudsters ask for bank details over the phone.
In most cases, the rebate will be paid automatically to those who pay their council tax by direct debit, but those who do not pay by direct debit may have to provide their local authority with their bank details.
However, the Local Government Association (LGA) has stressed that councils will never ask for bank details over the phone.
Councils will reach out to households to confirm how the payment will be made, with Wakefield Council confirming it will set up an online form for households to complete.
If you receive a phone call and are unsure if the caller is genuine, you should avoid giving away any details and hang up.
You can find your local council's details online and call them back directly to make sure you are speaking with an official.
What to do if you’re worried you’ve been scammed
If you are worried you may have been scammed and have already responded, you should end all further communication immediately.
You should call your bank directly and cancel any recurring payments. Most banks, including Halifax, Lloyds and Natwest can be contacted using the new 159 scam hotline.
Report the scam to the police via Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report it anonymously on the Action Fraud website.
Those who live in Scotland can report a scam through Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or on the Advice Direct Scotland website. You can also report scams to Police Scotland on 101.
For further help, you can also contact Citizens Advice Scams Action via the Citizens Advice website, or call the Scams Action helpline on 0808 250 5050.