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Residents warned as council tax scam begins to circulate

Posted on 10th September 2015

Police are teaming up with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to encourage residents to protect themselves against council tax scammers.

Police have been told how fraudsters have been phoning victims to inform them that they have been placed in the wrong council bracket for a number of years and that they are entitled to a rebate of around £7000.

The fraudster then tells the victim that in order to receive the rebate they will need to pay an administration fee in advance; the payment they ask for varies between £60-350.

The victim provides the details and makes the payment, but then is no longer able to make contact with the person they spoke to on the phone. After a call to their local council direct about the rebate and the fact that they are in the wrong tax bracket, the council will confirm that they know nothing about it and that they have been contacted by fraudsters.

Detective Inspector Rob King, Head of the Derbyshire Constabulary Economic Crime Unit, said: “Fraudsters are continuingly calling their victims with new ways of convincing them to part with their hard earned cash. This can often leave people feeling upset, vulnerable, and often too embarrassed to ask for help and support from friends, family, or police.

“Since mid-July Action Fraud has received 16 reports of this incident and none of those were in Derbyshire. However, as part of our Stamp out Fraud in Derbyshire campaign, we are committed to raise awareness of these types of scams to help local residents to further protect themselves from fraudsters.”

Top tips to protect yourself and family from council tax scammers:

  • Never respond to unsolicited phone calls;
  • Your local council won’t ever phone out-of-the-blue to discuss a council tax rebate, if you receive a call of this nature, put the phone down straight away;
  • No legitimate organisation will ask you to pay an advanced fee in order receive money; so never give them your card details;
  • If you think you have been a victim of fraud, hang up the phone and wait five minutes to clear the line as fraudsters sometimes keep the line open. Then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud. Where it is possible use a different phone line to make the phone call.

For information around frauds and scams visit the dedicated Stamp out Fraud in Derbyshire webpage at www.derbyshire.police.uk/stampoutfraud.

If you think that you have been a victim of this type of fraud call 101, the non-emergency for Derbyshire police. To report a fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.