Disabled residents are being warned about unscrupulous scammers charging people for help applying for a Blue Badge.
A Blue Badge is available to disabled people to allow them free parking. To get one, all you have to do is fill out a form and pay £10 for the badge itself.
We have received 3 reports recently, about websites charging as much as £49 for help with applying for a Blue Badge.
The information provided by applicants does not appear to be sent to the relevant authorities. This means that a Blue Badge will not be issued and could put at risk any sensitive information submitted during the fake application.
The scam has been running for the past 2 years, but appears to have re-emerged as a tool for scammers.
Cllr Dale Birch, executive member for adult services, health and housing, said
These websites are simply taking advantage by charging for a process which should be completely free – it is only the badge itself which costs money.
Residents should be aware the scam websites may state they are not connected to any national or local government authority or the Blue Badge Improvement Service which we would advise should be taken as an immediate cause to forget about the site.
These websites also tend to not have contact numbers which makes it impossible for those applying for a Blue Badge or council staff to make contact with the people running the sites.
The sites may not be illegal and may appear towards the top of searches online, but take the fact it is charging for the service as reason enough to steer clear.
If you want to apply for a Blue Badge but do not have internet access, please call our Blue Badge team on 01344 351464. You can also pop into our Time Square office between 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
If you feel that you have been misled by a scam like this, please can you let us know.