Tower Hamlets Council has issued a warning to residents about a housing scam that claims to be acting on behalf of the authority.

A number of flyers have been distributed by the fraudulent Tower Hamlets Overcrowding Aid that encourages tenants to pay £29.99 to register on a bogus website to help them move out of overcrowded properties.

The page, towerhamletsoa.com, included a form asking members for personal details but also consisted of a number of spelling mistakes, spelling overcrowding as “overcowding” for example.

The website has since been taken down and the council’s anti-fraud and trading standards teams are working with the police.

The council revealed that investigators had identified the apparent owner of the website.

The mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “We will be working closely with the police to track down those responsible for this scam.

“Not only are these fraudsters seeking to fleece families out of money they cannot afford, they are raising the hopes of families already living in difficult circumstances.

“I urge residents to be vigilant and to warn others in their homes and neighbourhoods about this scam. Anyone who has received one of these scam leaflets should contact the council’s trading standards team.

“The council will do all it can to find those responsible and push for the strongest possible legal action to be taken against them.”

The authority informed residents that it would never request payment for an application for housing or to move to a larger home.

Anyone who has received the flyers should contact the council’s trading standards team on 020 7364 5008 or email trading.standards@towerhamlets.gov.uk

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