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29 March 2011, 11:51
With council tax bills having recently gone out, people in Dorset are being warned to be aware of bogus phone calls claiming to be from their local council.
The cold caller explains that a £7,000 council tax refund is due to the customer and then proceeds to give a 'secret security number which must not be divulged to anyone'.
The caller asks for the customer's initial, their date of birth, how long they have been with their bank and their bank's sort code and account number.
Paul Attwater, Head of Revenues & Benefits Services for the Stour Valley Partnership, which administers council tax for Christchurch, East Dorset and North Dorset Councils, said: "People should be aware that their council would never cold call and request bank details over the phone.
"Where accounts are in credit, the council tax office would issue a cheque payment, and if paid by direct debit, a BACS credit would be arranged without the need to contact the customer direct.
"Any credits due to overpayment of council tax in 2010/11 year will be automatically rolled over to reduce this year's council tax.
"If people are in any doubt then they should take a telephone number and contact name and check with the council directly before arranging any call back."
The Stour Valley Partnership were alerted to this scam by a customer who fortunately did not divulge any bank details. The police have been informed about the call.
Anyone in Christchurch, East Dorset or North Dorset wishing to check whether a call about council tax is genuine can call 01202 639150.