Residents should be on their guard as a council tax scam returns to the borough.
The scam involves fraudsters posing as council staff who are telephoning residents to say they have paid too much council tax and then asking for their bank account details, so that a refund can be processed.
The fraudsters have operated in a number of Greater Manchester boroughs and targeted Bolton twice in the last year. They have now returned to the borough for a third time and Trading Standards is aware of at least two people in this borough who have been called by them so far.
A female resident was called by a man claiming to be from the council, who knew her name and said she was entitled to a refund because she had paid council tax regularly for the previous eight years. He asked her to fetch a bank statement, but she became suspicious and quickly put the phone down.
In separate incidents, a female resident of Bolton and her son also received separate phone calls from someone saying they were from ‘the Electricity Board’, and that due to always paying their bills on time they qualified for 14 per cent discount.
The caller then quoted the first four numbers from the lady's credit card and also the four numbers from the security number on the back of the card. The woman asked the caller to confirm her full credit card number but they could not do this, so she became suspicious and hung up.
Councillor Nick Peel, Executive Member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Regulation said: “Bolton Council does not run a refund scheme for people who regularly pay their council tax and a phone call of this nature would not be made by our council tax team. Likewise there is no longer an organisation called the Electricity Board.
I would urge residents never to give out personal information, unless they know who the caller is and to be on their guard when callers ask for personal details. There is no way of knowing who you are actually speaking to at the time and there is every chance that the caller is a criminal trying to obtain money from your account or trying to obtain your details for identity theft.”
Anyone who receives suspicious calls, or has further information about the scam such as a name, address or telephone number, should report it to Trading Standards on 08454 040506.