Kirklees council warn against direct debit scam that could lead to serious debt and criminal conviction

Kirklees Council and Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing are warning residents about a direct debit refund scam that has already found victims in Kirklees.

Posts circulating on social media, including on Snapchat and Facebook, from scammers named “Seany B” and “James Thomas” have been targeting residents and promoting an opportunity to claim cash back on direct debits already paid for council tax, housing rent and other bills.

Responding to the message leads to victims being asked to pass on their bank account details to the scammers.

The bank is asked, in person or through impersonation, to cancel an existing direct debit and claim back monies already paid for rent or Council tax.

Any money received will be transferred back to the victim’s bank account and the scammer who has these details will then take their fee of 50% and sometimes more, leaving the victim with whatever amount is left.

As this is an illegal direct debit reclaim, the victim could potentially face a criminal prosecution as an accomplice to fraud and will be asked to return all the money in full.

Christine Gummerson, Director of Neighbourhoods at Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing said: “We want our tenants and the wider public in Kirklees to be aware of this scam which claims to be a quick, hassle free way to claim money back from your bank with no consequences.

“This absolutely isn’t the case and could result in victims being left in a lot of debt and with a criminal conviction.

“The scam may not come to light for the victim until much later, usually when a request to return the full amount of money is made or contact is made by the Police as part of a criminal investigation.”

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