Some East Devon customers have told us they have recently received scam emails reportedly from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Before putting yourself at risk please go to the Avoid and report internet scams and phishing page on GOV.UK.
Here are some other tactics used to try and get you to part with your money:
- charge an up-front fee of around £65 - referred to as a finder's fee - and then not challenge your band
- insist you are definitely in the wrong band, when your band is correct.
- say they are from East Devon District Council (EDDC) / Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and ask for your bank details so they can give you a refund. You may then find that money is taken from your account.
- claim that the VOA charges you to challenge your band when you can do this for free.
- claim that you must be represented by an agent to challenge your band when anyone can do this.
- say that the VOA won't reduce your band without the help of an agent because the government is short of money.
Things you can do to avoid falling victim
You can have your band checked free of charge by contacting the VOA. If you feel that the band on your home is wrong, explain to the VOA why you think it is incorrect. They will ask you to confirm the details they hold about your home. If they agree that the band is wrong, it will be altered. Please note that Council Tax bands can occasionally go up as well as down.
Inform the police if you believe that anyone is impersonating staff from EDDC/VOA or if a cold caller refuses to leave your home.
Contact your local Trading Standards if you feel you have been the victim of a Council Tax scam.
Things you should not do
- don't give your bank details to anyone that contacts you unless you know that they are genuine
- don't let anyone into your home without first seeing appropriate identification
- don't feel under pressure from a cold-caller to pay an immediate up-front fee. Take the time you need to think about it
- don't accept cold callers claims that your band is wrong, without first seeing evidence of what they are claiming. There is nothing wrong with being sceptical
- don't speak to anyone who is reluctant to give you their company address or contact details