Information about scams operating within our area
Text message refund scam
We have been informed a small number of residents have received text messages, purporting to be from ADC, saying they are owed a council tax refund. Please do NOT click any links in such messages. We can confirm we do not send text messages to our customers when they are owed refunds so any such text messages should be deleted.
Tree cutting scam
We have received reports that residents in the Bognor Regis area have been approached by bogus callers to their doorstep advising they have a tree which needs to be removed or they will be fined by Arun District Council. Customers have been frightened into paying and the trees have been hacked badly. We can confirm this would not have been a legitimate caller from us, and would encourage all residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity from cold callers to Trading Standards.
Predatory sales - doorstep callers
We have received a number of reports of people experiencing predatory selling techniques for home loft insulation in our area. Pressure selling techniques can include giving the impression that a contract must be signed right away, and quoting extremely high prices, which are then dropped when the customer says they are too expensive (to give the impression of a large discount).
Never be afraid to say you don’t want to sign up, you want to discuss it with a family member, or you need time to think about it. A reputable company would be accepting of this and would not try to pressure you into a sale. West Sussex Trading Standards advise that you should always get three quotes for any work that is needed and never rely on unsolicited contact over the phone or knocking on your door.
If you do agree to go ahead, then there is a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period where you can cancel without any penalty. If any work is to start within 14 days, then you must specifically agree to this.
If you, or someone you know, experiences pressure selling from a salesperson, we would advise you to report the matter to Trading Standards via their online form or by calling the Citizen Advice Consumer Advice Service on 03454 040506.
Arun District Council supports the work of Energy Wise South, who are able to provide free loft and cavity wall insulation, supported by Government funding. Energy Wise South can be contacted on 0800 567 7474 to arrange a free survey of your home to assess its suitability for insulation.
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding insulating your home, you can contact Arun’s Energy Efficiency officer on 01903 737743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have elderly or vulnerable relatives, please share this advice with them.
Council tax refund scam
We have been advised a number of residents have received emails appearing to be from HMRC telling them they are owed money for council tax (see photo). The refund amount stated on the email seems to vary between customers, and the email includes a clickable link. This is a scam email, seeking to obtain personal information. HMRC do not send notifications of refunds via email. Any communication regarding your council tax payments would come from Arun District Council, in a letter addressed to you.
If you receive this email, please DO NOT click on any links or open any attachments. Please delete it or forward it to email@example.com so they can investigate.
Window recycling scam
We have recently been made aware of a scam operating within the Arun area which targets residents in council houses, including houses that have previously been council houses. Residents have been visited by cold callers offering to buy back old double glazing on behalf of Arun District Council, as part of a recycling scheme, and have been asked to arrange an appointment for a repeat visit.
We urge residents not to allow access to anyone without prior notification and valid identification. We are currently carrying out repair work to properties in various locations within our district, but we always notify residents by letter that we are coming.
Please be aware that Arun District Council do not operate any schemes involving buying double glazing for recycling, and we would encourage all residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity from cold callers to Trading Standards.
Gov.uk website council tax scam
We have been made aware of a Council Tax scam that is circulating. Contact is being made by an email, containing a link that looks like a government (.gov.uk) website, it is not. Please do not click on the link.
Council Tax refunds are not normally processed in this way and we would not suggest that customers enter their bank or payment card details into any website they are unsure of.
Revenues Manager, Iain Bell explained that; "Arun District Council itself will not normally ask a customer to confirm their bank details. In particular, if a customer pays their Council Tax by direct debit, any refund due would be paid automatically."
We ask that if you are unsure, please contact the Arun District Council offices by email on firstname.lastname@example.org before giving any details out.
Council tax scam
We are currently aware of a telephone scam relating to council tax. The caller purports to be a representative of Arun District Council and offers to help them obtain a council tax refund and requests an upfront payment.
Please do not give your details to anyone who contacts you in this way. If you have received a call of this nature and you are unsure if it was genuine, please contact our call centre on 01903 737752.
We have received reports that somebody claiming to be part of Arun Wellbeing is calling the public recommending and attempting to sell natural health products. They are asking people for their bank details. We would like to make it clear that Arun Wellbeing does not sell such products, and recommend that you terminate the call. The police are aware of this scam and incidents can be reported to Action Fraud online.
For your information, if you have been the victim of any crime or have been affected by a crime committed against someone you know, you can find advice at the Victim Support website. Their services are free and available to everyone whether or not the crime has been reported and regardless of when it happened.