Vulnerable Herefordshire households have been warned about scammers pretending to offer paid-for services from the council.

Herefordshire Council’s Telecare offers a round-the-clock remote monitoring and response service for older people and those who are less mobile. It has recently been in touch with users of the service to warn it may be interrupted due to a digital switchover happening across the UK.

“The scammers are taking advantage of the digital switchover to tell telecare users that they need to pay to keep their service running,” Council leader Jonathan Lester said.

“We would never cold-call customers and ask for their bank details, nor would any other legitimate telecare provider.”

He urged: “If you know any telecare users, please make them aware of the scam and remind them not to share their bank details over the phone.”

The council’s community wellbeing head of prevention Lee Davis added: “We received a call from one of our customers who had just been told by a cold caller she needed to replace her existing telecare system. It was a scam.

“Another was charged an excessive amount for telecare-style services, believing they were from Herefordshire Council.”

Coun Lester’s warning comes in a report for the Full Council meeting due next Friday, when the council’s budget, including its planned 5 per cent council tax increase, will be decided on.