Residents are being warned not to give out their bank details over the phone to cold callers after an elderly woman was targeted by fraudsters in Polegate.
Cllr Michael Clewett, who is also vice chairman of Polegate Neighbourhood Watch, said the woman was contacted by someone pretending to be from Wealden District Council. She was told she had over paid on her council tax and if she paid £40 on her credit card her refund would be sent by post.
The caller asked for her credit card number but the woman, who was suspicious of the caller, asked for the phone number of the caller which was not given.
Wealden District Council is now urging people not to give bank details to an unsolicited caller.
A spokesman for the council said: “I’m afraid fraudsters do appear to strike this time of year just after the council tax bills have been sent out.
“We have heard of a number incidents this year when a cold caller claims to be ringing on behalf of the council and asking for bank account details, or offering to get their council tax banding reduced for a fee.
“Residents are advised to never give bank information over the phone to an unsolicited caller.
“If in doubt, ask for their number, wait a while, then ring back. Our council staff will always be happy to clarify if the council is involved. Just ring 01323 443322.
“Regarding refunds due to the valuation of a property: these matters are handled by the Valuation Office. Its website, www.voa.gov.uk includes a useful page of council tax scams connected with property valuation.”
The council has also posted a warning on its website.
Sussex Police said it has had several calls about scams in the county.
Chief Inspector Gary Pike, Wealden district policing commander, said: “Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your PIN number over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address.
“Never give out your bank or card details to someone who has contacted you on your home phone unsolicited. The caller sometimes keeps the line open and will pretend to be from whoever you think you have just rung, so if you have any suspicions do not use the phone you have just been called on. Use a mobile or someone else’s phone or wait at least ten minutes before trying to call.
“Please pass this message on to anyone you know who may not be aware of this particular type of targeted fraud to prevent any vulnerable friends or family members from becoming victims.”