A COUNCIL is urging residents to be careful reports of people falling victim to a social media scam.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council issued the warning to residents urging them not to respond to offers promoted through social media to reclaim money for council tax, rent or other bills.

Reports have been received of several residents in the borough falling victim to the scam and losing large sums of money, the council said.

The scammers operate through posts on Facebook and other social media which promote the chance to get a refund for money paid for rent, council tax and other bills. Responding resulted in the victims sharing their bank details with the scammer who then accessed their bank accounts and stole large sums of money.

Cllr Steve Kay, cabinet member for health, housing and welfare, said: “We encourage our residents to be vigilant and to report immediately such fraudulent attempts.

“There are many ways in which scammers can get in contact with people, from phone calls and false emails, to using social media channels. The council and the police are making efforts to stop such schemes, raise awareness of how people can protect themselves from scammers and offer support to the victims.

"Anyone who has fallen victim to this type of scam, should report it to Action Fraud or Citizens Advice. It is also essential for victims to get promptly in touch with the local authorities and get help if the scam relates to payments to the council.

The Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS) work in partnership with Redcar and Cleveland Trading Standards and offer advice and support to victims of scams.”

If you are a victim of this scam or a similar one, contact your bank immediately. You can report a scam to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or use the online fraud reporting tool at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Alternatively, Citizens Advice consumer service is available on 0808 223 1133 or by visiting Citizens Advice website https://citizensadvice.org.uk.

For more support and advice, call 0303 040 1099 or email info@vcas.uk.

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