Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert issues urgent warning to households expecting £150 council tax refund
MARTIN Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert has issued an urgent warning to households who are expecting the £150 council tax refund.
The money should hit bank accounts from this month to help families cover the rising cost of living.
But you need to watch out for scammers who are pretending to help households access the £150 grant.
MoneySavingExpert has warned that con artists are using the government scheme as an opportunity to target vulnerable people.
A number of councils including Durham and Southwark have told residents to be wary of scam phone calls.
“Please don’t give your bank details to anyone who calls you about the national council tax rebate scheme,” Durham Council said on Twitter.
“We’re aware of a scam but we will not ask for your details as part of this process.”
We explain who will get the £150 refund and how to avoid being scammed.
What is the council tax refund?
Around 80% of UK households are eligible for the council tax refund, which is being given out to people living in bands A to D.
The £150 payment will be made from this month, although the timeline varies across the country.
If you pay by direct debit, it will be paid automatically into your bank account.
Residents who pay using another method will have to apply – you should contact your local council to find out how.
How can I avoid being scammed?
Scammers are pretending to be council officials and are cold calling households.
Your council will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
If you’re a direct debit customer, your local authority will already have your bank details.
The payment isn’t being made until April’s council tax bill has been settled – this is the method councils are using to verify your details.
If you pay another way, you will have to apply to the council for the refund.
If you’re unsure about who is calling you, don’t give any details away and hang up the phone.
You can find your local council’s details online and you can call them back directly to make sure you’re speaking with an official.
What should I do if I think I’ve already been scammed?
If you think you’ve been scammed, end all communication with the con artist.
Call your bank directly to cancel any further payments to the scammers.
Most banks including Halifax, Natwest and Lloyds can be reached using the new 159 scam hotline.
You should report the scam to police via Action Fraud, either over the phone on 0300 123 2040 or online.
For further help, you can contact Citizens Advice for more support.
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