SCAMMERS are targeting Castle Point residents pretending to be from the council.

Reports emerged over the weekend that elderly residents had been hit by fraudsters, who demanded a £150 refund to pay for lawyers after they stated the residents had been overpaying council tax.

An elderly lady, who was the victim of the scam, was contacted on Friday by a “London solicitor”, who claimed he was working for the council, and needed paying in order to secure the refund.

The “London solicitor” called back and stated that £150 would be needed to be transferred immediately.

The victim, was helped by her neighbour who subsequently contacted Castle Point Council.

The neighbour stated that the scammer had known a lot of detail about the victim, and was shocked that she had been conned.

Norman Smith, leader of Castle Point Council, issued a warning of his own.

The councillor for Boyce ward, said: “It’s not good at all, and I’m really concerned.

“People that suffer are usually the elderly within our community.

“I know a lady was conned out of £150 unfortunately.

“I would stress to residents to please be vigilant.

“Don’t give bank details to someone you’re not sure of.

“If anybody asks you or pretends to be from Castle Point Council, just put down the phone straightaway.

“No matter how convincing you think they’re being, don’t ever give out your bank details over the phone.”

Mr Smith added that this kind of scam had never been reported to him or the council before.

He said: “This is a new one.

“I hope it just passes, and soon.

“They just invent new scams all the time.

“It’s just really unfortunate.”

A spokeswoman for Castle Point Council, said: “We would ask residents to be vigilant.

“There is no reason for the council to ask for bank card details to make a refund on council tax.

“We would not tell a resident to contact a ‘London solicitor’ in order to recover the refund, which happened in this case.

“It was the ‘London solicitor ‘ who demanded a fee of £150.”