County targeted by ‘scam’ callers

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SUFFOLK residents have been hit by a spate of scam phone calls asking for their credit card details for a refund on their Council Tax.

Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for public protection, confirmed Suffolk Trading Standards had been made aware of a number of scam phone calls from people claiming to belong to an official body.

One Bury resident, who did not want to be named, received a suspect phone call on June 5.

She said her suspicions were raised when the caller said she was due a refund on her ‘rates’.

She said: “A woman called and told me there was some money due to me for over payment of ‘rates’ and could I please tell her my bank details.

“She said she was from ‘The Rates Refunds Department’ – they did not say which region or county they were from so I questioned the name again.

“Knowing that this was a scam, thanks to TV watchdog programmes and the national press and that money was likely to disappear from my account rather than be paid in – I declined the offer and said that I knew that this was a fraudulent attempt to extract money.

“It is elderly people who are at home during the day who often refer to ‘rates’ rather than Council Tax as it is known now.

“It is worrying this is going on in the area – elderly people could be targeted and the next thing all their money is gone.”

Cllr Spence said: “Suffolk Trading Standards has been made aware of a number of similar cases in the county – all claiming to be from some form of official body and offering refunds.

“We are currently investigating those incidents.

“Our message is very clear on this – never give your bank account or credit card details to someone who called you as it’s almost certainly a scam.

“We recommend you end the call immediately, make a note of the number and then contact Trading Standards.”