23. Council Tax scams
Some East Devon customers have had scam emails pretending to be from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Don't put yourself at risk! Please go to GOV.UK's Avoid and report internet scams and phishing
Here are some other tactics used to try and get your money:
- say they are from East Devon District Council (EDDC) or Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and want to give you a refund. If you give them your bank details, you may then find that money is taken out of your bank account
- insist you are in the wrong Council Tax band (when your band is correct)
- claim that the VOA charges you to challenge your band (you can do this for free) or
- claim an agent must act for you to challenge your band (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.
- charge an up-front fee of around £65 - a finder's fee (then they won't even challenge your band)
Things you can do to avoid falling victim
You can have your band checked free of charge by the VOA. If they agree that the band is wrong, it will be altered. Please note that Council Tax bands can sometimes go up as well as down.
Inform the police if anyone is pretending to be 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 unless you know that they are genuine
- don't let anyone into your home without first seeing their ID
- don't feel under pressure from a cold-caller to pay an up-front fee. Take the time you need to think about it
- don't accept a cold-caller's claim that your band is wrong, without first seeing evidence. There is nothing wrong with checking
- don't speak to anyone who will not give you their company address or contact details
- if you receive an email, unless you are sure, don't click on any links within the email, reply or forward the email, transfer any money via Paypal