Council Tax scam warnings
23 Mar 2021 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
Northumberland County Council is warning residents to be aware of several Council Tax scams offering a promise of a reduction or refund.
A number of scams have been reported around the country targeting residents via phone, letter and email and appear to be from genuine sources.
The email scam claims to be from GOV.UK, Government Digital Services Team advising the residents of their eligibility to a council tax reduction. They are asked to follow a link to claim their reduction, and at this point are asked for their bank details.
In a second scam fraudsters use doctored letter-head paper purporting to be from the local authority. The letter informs the resident that they are eligible for a council tax support scheme. It provides a link to a fake website with a unique access code, and again asks the resident to input their bank details. The website is fake.
A further case has been reported of letters being sent to residents claiming to be from a local authority offering a reduction in council tax as part of the Government’s response to Covid19.
Residents are also being warned of telephone scams. One from a company named Greyston, who has been making cold calls claiming to be able to secure a valuation reduction and a reduced payment. The company asks for a fee and once again asks for bank account details. Further cases have been reported where an individual has been telephoning customers claiming that he works for the Council and that their council tax account is in credit and he requires bank details to enable him to refund the credit.
To reduce the risks of falling for cold call scams the council’s Public Protection Service has the following tips:
- Be wary of unsolicited callers suggesting or implying that you are due a refund or other money.
- Never provide your personal details or bank or credit card details.
- Don’t take unsolicited calls when you are busy and can’t give the salesman your full attention – if you want to talk, ask them to call back at a convenient time.
- Don’t agree to something on the phone just to get rid of a persistent caller.
- If you’re not clear about who you are speaking to, terminate the call.
Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for community services said: “Unfortunately scammers can be very convincing and persuasive and can con people into believing that they are legitimate. We are urging residents to be extra vigilant when passing on their details to a third party.
“It is very concerning to see that fraudsters are using the current situation, which has been so difficult for so many people financially, to scam people out of their money.”