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Council tax scam – be on your guard

3:41 pm, Friday, 5th March 2021 - 3 years ago

General

Fraudsters have been targeting people across the country via phone, letter and email regarding council tax payment, reduction and refunds.

These appear genuine and the content encourages people to provide their details to receive a reduction or refund in council tax.

An email, claiming to be from GOV.UK, asks the resident to click on the link and input their bank details to claim the reduction or refund.

A letter informs the resident of the council tax support scheme eligibility and provides the website htrcb.info with a unique access code for them to input their bank details. The website provided is fake.

If a person receives a cold call claiming to be able to secure a valuation reduction resulting in reduced payments and to provide their bank details, they should check the telephone number to see if it is linked to a fraudulent scheme.

People should remain cautious when receiving unsolicited calls, emails and correspondence. Those facing significant financial hardship at this time may be vulnerable to these scams promising reduced liabilities and become victims of crime.

Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “Residents are advised not to agree to offers of this kind, and not to give out their bank account details to firms who contact them under these circumstances. The council would never approach residents in this way and ask them for bank account information.

“We need to be vigilant. However genuine a call or message might seem, it is always best to check and make sure before transferring any money or giving away any personal or confidential information. Scams like this are common, but unfortunately, they do catch people out.”

North East Lincolnshire Council does not contact residents to request their bank details. If anyone is contacted about council tax rebates or similar services, they should hang up and report it to Action Fraud, Citizens Advice or report the message as “phishing” to the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at the following address [email protected].

To report suspicious text messages, forward the message to 7226. This is a free message which alerts your service provider who will look into the origin of the text and subsequently block any numbers being used to send the messages.

If you are unsure about any correspondence regarding council tax payment, call the council on (01472) 313131.

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