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24 November 2017, 07:00
Con artists are doing the rounds in Oxford in the run-up to Christmas.
As we approach the Christmas season there is often an increase in the number of cons and scams.
They arrive in all shapes and sizes - through your computer, in the mail, or sometimes with a knock on the door. So the message is to be aware and stay cautious.
Oxford City Council was recently made aware of a scam where a con artist knocked on a resident's door, claimed to be one of our officers and presented an imitation ID card. They demanded the occupant pay a fine for having an untidy garden.
All council staff carry verifiable ID and if you are in any doubt that these are genuine you can ring the council to check. No genuine council caller will mind waiting while you do this.
Another scam involved an email claiming to be from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs offering a refund of Council Tax (HMRC has nothing to do with Council Tax collection). Please remember that Oxford City Council will never contact you directly by phone or email to offer refunds or ask for your bank details.
Cllr Ed Turner, Board Member for Finance, Asset Management and Public Health said: "Sadly the season of goodwill is also the season of scams. Oxford City Council's highly effective anti-fraud team works in partnership with the police, the National Anti-Fraud Network and other agencies to combat many types of fraud. The team will investigate instances of possible scams that are reported to them.
"Anyone who is uncertain about a phone call or email they receive that claims to be from Oxford City Council, or has someone knock on their door who claims to be one of our staff, can report it to the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01865 252333.
"The police's National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre also offers help and advice on their website, www.actionfraud.police.uk These kinds of scams are typical for this time of year, but don't let your guard down during the rest of the year either as fraudsters can strike at any time."
There is also a dedicated National Fraud Week website that offers more information and advice to help raise awareness about the scope and effects of fraud. Visit http://www.fraudweek.com/fw2016.aspx