Mark Whitehead 26 February 2018

Councils protect residents from 'fake news' and scammers

Councils protect residents from 'fake news' and scammers

Local government leaders have issued guidance to help protect residents from scammers pretending to be from the council.

They hope the advice will help people sort real council information from inaccurate or misleading 'fake news'.

They are warning residents to watch out for unexpected communications and urging them to follow a 'three-stage fact-check' including checking the source of the information and asking if the information seems sensationalist or out of character.

Recent episodes include scammers sending 'phishing' emails regarding PayPal transactions and fake notices on official council notepaper threatening parking fines.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: 'The best way to tackle misinformation is for residents to be constantly vigilant, and ask the key questions of any information they see online – who is supplying this information, how are they doing it, and what are they saying?

'If those questions set off any red flags or alarm, it’s worth cross-referencing information with other council communication channels, such as the council website, social media, or calling the council directly.'

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