Residents across County Durham are being urged to be on their guard against fraudsters trying to benefit from a national council tax rebate scheme.
Durham County Council understands that callers, claiming to be from the authority, have asked residents for their bank details in order to process the £150 rebate.
The council will not ask for bank details over the phone as part of this process, with all households who pay council tax by direct debit in bands A to D set to receive the payment directly into their bank account.
Anyone who does not pay their council tax by direct debit will be sent a letter with details of how to claim.
They can also sign up to pay by direct debit on the council’s website or by telephoning the customer services team, who can assist customers in completing the form.
The authority has also been made aware of customers experiencing cold calls around the use of medical pendants, sales of medical care and personal alarms, and asking people if they are over 50 and eligible for free equipment.
Cllr John Shuttleworth, Cabinet member for highways, rural communities and community safety, said: “It is very disappointing to see that people are once again trying to take advantage of others.
“Many people are experiencing financial strain because of the rising cost of living and vulnerable residents should not be exploited in any way.
“We would urge all residents to remain vigilant against fraud and to report any concerns around calls, emails or letters which do not appear to be genuine.
“We would also ask that people help to look out for family and friends who may be targeted by scammers to prevent other people falling victim to fraudulent activity.”
More information on how to sign up to pay council tax by direct debit can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/counciltaxenergyrebate.
Information on scams awareness and what to do to prevent scams can also be found at www.durham.gov.uk/scams.