Highland Council Trading Standards warns about council tax scam

Highland Council Trading Standards is again warning unsuspecting residents of the emergence of another council tax scam.

Today a call was received by the Council from a council tax payer alerting to a council tax scam whereby scammers are now emailing people and informing them that they are due a council tax rebate.

This is not the way that any person due a rebate would be notified.  In this case a web address is given, and the recipient is asked to open it.  This website is unsafe and anyone accessing it may be putting their personal information at risk.

Mark McGinty, Trading Standards Team Leader states, “This is just the latest in a long line of many attempts to scam people either of their money or their personal information, which will eventually lead to an attempt to scam money at some point.  I’d urge anyone who has received a text message or email that they are not 100% sure about to simply ignore it and remove it.  In all cases, if you think you are due council tax refund, contact the Council in the first instance.”

Sheila McKandie, Interim Head of Revenues & Customer Services explained: "Any communication with council tax payers from the Council’s Corporate Resources Service about something like a refund would be in writing. We never cold call customers asking for bank account details. During the coronavirus, some people are even more susceptible to internet and phone scams which is the reason why families and friends need to alert one another to immediately delete any suspicious emails or text messages that may be received.

"The same rules apply to suspicious phone calls seeking personal information; do not divulge any information and terminate the call.  Householders with doubt as to the authenticity of any contact regarding council tax should call the Council's freephone Council Tax Helpline on 0800 393811.”

Highland Council Trading Standards work in partnership with Advice Direct Scotland (ADS).  Residents who think they may have been scammed can contact ADS who offer free and confidential consumer advice on Freephone 0808 164 6000 or by email through their website address at: www.consumeradvice.scot

15 Apr 2020
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