Hit back at tax fraud phone calls

31 July, 2017

Written by: Communications Team, Lambeth Council

Business news > Council news > Money - #ToughChoices > Safety

Reports are still coming in about frauds on the phone all over the UK.  One example is scammers telling residents to claim for a refund on their Council Tax.

'take Five' anti-fraud campaign courtesy of Take Five website

Callers will say that to claim your Council Tax rebate, they just need your bank details…

“Get your money back”

Next, the fraudster will ask for an “admin fee” to claim the refund. Police forces report this “fee” varies between £60 and £350 in different parts of the UK – but it’s always “pay in advance”. If the fraud works, the victim provides their bank details and makes the payment, but then is no longer able to contact the person who called them.

Check with the council

Next step is the resident contacts their council to report: “I’ve just been told I’ve been overpaying in the wrong Council Tax bracket for years – I’m trying to claim my money back”. The council will confirm it’s a fraud.

Don’t let frauds fool you

  • Lambeth Council Tax team will never call you out of the blue asking for your bank details. If we want to talk to you about Council Tax we will write, email or send you an SMS text message first.
  • No council or any other legal organisation will ever ask you to pay anything in advance.
  • Don’t forget the council already has your bank details if you pay by Direct Debit.
  • If you get any phone call about Council Tax, try to write down the caller’s phone number.
  • If you get a call about “the wrong tax bracket”, take a number and say you’ll call back. Try using a different phone, waiting 10 minutes or phoning a friend to make sure the scammer isn’t keeping the line open.
  • Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use its online fraud reporting tool. You will get a crime number – this is attempted fraud – which is as much of a crime as if they took money from you.
  • Call your bank or credit card issuer to report attempted fraud.
  • Only the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) – a department of HMRC can change your Council Tax banding. If you want to have your Council tax reviewed you need to make an appeal to VOA online.

For more information

Follow the Take Five campaign online for lots of helpful ideas to help keep you out of the scam trap – it’s backed by UK police forces.

See more about identity theft and other scams on the Action Fraud website

You can now also sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.

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