New Debt and Council Tax Scams

Several new techniques have surfaced recently over ways scammers will try to obtain your private and sensitive information. Here are some that experts in scam prevention have picked up and how to best protect yourself.

Outstanding Debt

Fraudsters will claim to be representing a bank or company to whom you may owe an outstanding debt. The Action Fraud Centre has received thousands of reports of this just in the last few days. Scammers will use your address or email and write to you claiming that you owe them a certain amount of money even if you aren’t in debt. These messages have been from people claiming to be from a real company, Opex Europe. It is easy for fraudsters to adapt to changes in the law to combat this, so always think about who you are providing your information to before you hand it over.

Council Tax Scam

Many people are now contacting individuals claiming to be from local authorities, advertising fake “new-ways” to pay your council tax in advance. Your Council will not normally contact you before your tax is due so it is always best to contact your local authority to check if the tax asked for is actually due. Another tactic is to claim that an individual has been in the wrong tax bracket for several years and that a rebate is due to the authority. Again, it is best to contact your local authority directly and see if this information is correct, although it is unlikely to be.

Best Ways to Protect your Personal Information

  • Be extremely careful with who you might give your personal information to. Never hand it over unless you are absolutely sure it is to a trustworthy source.
  • Keep minimal information online on social media platforms. If you need to send someone your address or any other part of your personal info make sure that you do it in a secure manner.
  • Always make sure your passwords are difficult to crack, and make sure you use as wide a variety as possible. It is also advisable that if you do want to keep a written list of your passwords that you keep them at home rather than in your wallet, or something which could more easily be stolen.
  • Always inform your bank, employer, or anyone who may have access to your personal information about any changes of address.
  • Make sure you shred or destroy any documents containing personal information before you dispose of them
  • Keep up-to-date on your bank statements to ensure nothing peculiar is coming in or out.
  • If you have a communal mailbox, empty it regularly.
  • Don’t hand out your personal banking details to anyone you don’t know.
  • Make sure all your personal devices such as your phone, tablet, and laptop are all secure and have virus protection software.
  • Report any suspected fraud to the police.

For more information visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/scams/

 

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