Oxford City Council is warning Oxford residents against scams trying to con them out of their money.
A number of people have received calls from unknown numbers, claiming to be from Oxford City Council and telling them their rent accounts are in significant arrears. The caller then demands an immediate payment with a threat the resident would be added to an eviction list if they do not pay.
Another current scam involves telling people they have serious council tax arrears and will be taken to court if they don’t make an immediate payment.
The council does ask for information from residents to administer their rent or council tax accounts, including refunds or arranging arrears collection.
If the council makes a call to a resident, the member of staff will always identify themselves and the team they work for. People can always ask to call the council back on 01865 2489811 if they are not happy a call is genuine.
The council says people should end a call and delete texts or emails without clicking on any suspicious links if they suspect a scam or that a caller is bogus.
Most importantly, they should not give out personal information like bank account or debit card details to people they suspect are fraudsters.
Some scammers use fake websites that look similar to genuine sites and are designed to harvest personal data like bank details. The council says people should only share sensitive information with trusted people or organisations and be cautious when giving personal details online.
There is more information about council tax and other common scams on the GOV.UK website.
“We’re aware that a number of people have recently received calls from fraudsters pretending to be from the council and demanding immediate payment for alleged rent or council tax arrears.
“Our staff will always identify themselves and the team they work for. If you suspect a call is not genuine you can always ask to call us back.”
Councillor Nigel Chapman, cabinet member for citizen focused services and council companies