No one wants to pay more for their council tax than they need to and it was precisely this notion that saw one unfortunate resident in West Norfolk conned out of £561. As a result, those in the area are being urged to be extra careful of similar scams.
The alleged incident involved a telephone caller who claimed to work for the council. The unsuspecting victim was informed that the band for her property was too high and was asked to pay £561 for the council to look into the matter and potentially bring down her costs. Unfortunately the payment was made and Trading Standards have now been made aware of the matter.
Revenues and Benefits Manager at the Borough council, Jo Stanton, has released a statement explaining “we would advise residents not to pay any money that is requested in this way.”
Here at Council Tax Advisors we were disappointed to hear of this unfortunate resident’s experience, however sadly not shocked. Scams like this have been commonplace for a number of years and the best way to reduce them is through awareness.
Banding for council tax is actually decided by the Valuation office, not the Borough council, so you would never be approached by a member of your local council asking for money to look into a matter like this. The nature of the way this resident was approached for money was also very suspicious. Our advice for those in a similar situation would be to take the caller’s name and number and inform your local council of what has happened.
Even if you aren’t asked to make payment over the phone but you are wary of the intentions of your caller, you can also call us. We can provide you with guidance and information on what your rights are regarding council tax and what you should or should not be asked to do. We can also offer a great deal of support over the topic of council tax banding overall. It can be a complex issue which is why we are on hand to talk you through the ins and outs of it.
In the meantime, trust your instincts and if you do receive a phone call, or indeed a letter or email that doesn’t sit right, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion.