A concerned councillor is warning South Tynesiders not to be fooled by scam e-mails offering tax rebates.
Six days in a row, Coun Jim Foreman received an e-mail claiming he was owed a £736 tax refund by Lloyds Bank.
If he clicked a link provided and filled in his details, the money would be transferred into his account, he was assured.
However, Coun Foreman, a ward member for Cleadon Park in South Shields on South Tyneside Council, was suspicious as he wasn’t a Lloyds customer, so he sent the e-mail on to the authority’s trading standards department.
He said: “I knew it couldn’t be a genuine tax rebate as the Government sends out its own cheques and, of course, I wasn’t a Lloyds customer. I just want people to be aware that this scam is doing the rounds.
“The e-mail looks very authentic. It has all the correct branding, and people could be easily caught out.”
The email looks very authentic people could be caught out.Coun Jim Foreman, who received the scam email
Lloyds has confirmed that the bank would never contact its customers in such a way. A spokesman said: “I am not aware of any instance where we would e-mail a customer regarding their tax rebate, as this would be an issue for HM Revenue and Customs.
“If customers have any doubt about the authenticity of an e-mail or any other form of communication, we would always recommend that they speak to us before taking any further action
Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, is also urging people to get in touch.
She said: “So-called phishing e-mails purporting to be from banks are popular among criminals, with recipients often being told they need to log in to their account via a link contained within the e-mail.
“These links lead to a web page that looks almost identical to the real thing but is actually fake and has been set up specifically for the purpose of allowing personal and financial details to be recorded.”
To report scams, call Citizens Advice on 03454 040 506 or e-mail the council at trading.standards@ southtyneside.gov.uk