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Warning: Beware scam calls about the Government's £150 council tax rebate

Households should beware cold callers asking for their bank account details in order to seemingly pay them the Government's £150 council tax rebate, as it's likely to be a scam. has seen a number of reports from councils urging residents to beware of fraudsters, while officials have also cautioned households to watch out.

Here's what to look out for and what to do if you think you've been caught out. You can also read our Scams guide for more help on how to protect yourself from fraud.

The £150 council tax rebate is being paid to households between now and September

The £150 council tax rebate is available to all households in council tax bands A to D in England, Scotland and Wales, and is designed to help with the rising cost of energy bills. Councils need to pay the rebate to households by 30 September 2022 – though some have already started to make payouts.

The rebate will, in most cases, be paid automatically to those who pay their council tax by direct debit. However, if you don't pay your council tax by direct debit you may have to provide your local authority with your bank account details.

Councils will NEVER call to ask for your bank details

The Local Government Association (LGA), a cross-party membership body for local authorities, says councils will never ask for bank details over the phone – a tactic scammers are reportedly using to try and prise sensitive financial details off you.

If you pay council tax by direct debit, the rebate will be paid automatically from April using those details. If you don't currently pay by direct debit, you can set one up by contacting your council directly. If that's not your preferred way to pay, you can cancel the direct debit after receiving the rebate.

For those who can't or don't want to set up a direct debit, how the rebate's paid will vary by council. We spoke to three councils that have issued scam warnings: Wakefield says it will set up an online form for households to complete, while Durham and Southwark are still finalising their plans – though none of them will call you to ask for the details.

Councils will reach out to households to confirm how they'll make the payment, but you should beware giving out your personal or financial details over the phone. If you're not sure the caller is genuine, hang up and phone your council directly using the contact number on its website.

'Criminals will no doubt take advantage of the council tax rebate'

Councillor Mohan Iyengar at the LGA warned that criminals are trying to take "advantage of the financial worries people are facing", and that people should report scam text messages to their mobile phone operator by forwarding the message to 7726, a free service.

A number of councils, including Durham, Southwark and Wakefield, have issued warnings to residents about council tax rebate scams, which see fraudsters ask households for their bank account details over the phone.

If you're worried you've been scammed, here's what to do

Below is a checklist of what you should do if you think you've been scammed:

  • If you've already responded to a scam, end all further communication immediately.
  • Call your bank directly and cancel any recurring payments – for speed and ease, most can call a new 159 hotline.
  • Report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report a scam anonymously on the Action Fraud website. If you're in Scotland, report a scam through Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or on the Advice Direct Scotland website. You can also report scams to Police Scotland on 101.
  • If you wish to seek further help, contact Citizens Advice Scams Action via the Citizens Advice website, or call its Scams Action helpline on 0808 250 5050.

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