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Watch out for this energy rebate council tax scam targeting households

Scammers claiming to be from the council are trying to steal your bank details

Scammers are calling UK households and asking for bank details in order to qualify for the government’s £150 energy rebate.

The government announced details of a £150 council tax rebate earlier this year, to help ease the rising cost of energy bills.

But, it hasn't taken long for scammers to seize on the opportunity and the Local Government Association is warning a recent spate of cold calls offering energy rebates are scams.

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Council tax energy rebate scam

The scammers claim to be associated with the council and explain a refund is due. They then ask for your bank details in order to pay out the £150 rebate.

According to those who've fallen foul of this scam, handing over these details led to large sums of money being deducted from their bank accounts shortly after the phone call.

While local authorities are administering the council tax rebates, the Local Government Association has said councils don’t ask for bank details over the phone.

All households in council tax bands A to D will be eligible for the rebate, which isn't means tested and doesn't need to be repaid. Those who pay for council tax by direct debit will receive the government’s energy rebate directly into their bank account. If you don’t pay your council tax via direct debit then you will be sent a letter with details of how to claim the rebate.

We've also seen of variations of this scam being sent by email and text message. Don't be tempted to respond to these texts and emails, if you don't currently pay your council tax by direct debit, you should wait to receive your letter from the council that will explain how to claim the rebate. 

How to spot and report these scams

While cold calls appear to be the primary method used for this scam, you should be wary of any requests for your personal and financial details via text message or email too.

If you’ve received a call, text or email that you think could be genuine, the safest thing to do is to source a contact number for that organisation from its website or a recent letter and contact them yourself to verify its authenticity.

If you think you've already given your details away to a potential scammer you should contact your bank immediately. You should also report the scam to Action Fraud, or the police if you live in Scotland.