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BE AWARE: Highland Council Trading Standards warns of council tax scam

By Louise Glen

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The Highland Council Trading Standards is warning Highland residents that text messages stating they are due a tax refund from their local council is a scam.

Recipients are warned not to click on any links and to not share their bank details.

Mark McGinty, Trading Standards team leader states: “By stirring up positive emotions and mentioning large sums of money, the intention of the scammer is to con people out of their money or to obtain their personal information to commit fraud.

"Please do not engage with anyone who contacts offering a tax refund.

"Do not give out any personal information, particularly bank account or debit or credit details.

"If you have any queries about tax, you should contact who you would pay the tax to, in this case the text states the local council, so you should contact the Highland Council.”

Sheila McKandie, head of revenues and business support explained: "Any communication with council tax payers from the council relating to a refund of money would be in writing.

"We would never cold call customers and ask for bank details. If anyone has a neighbour or relative who may be more susceptible to such activity, please look out for them and share this cautionary message as widely as possible."

She added: "If anyone is in doubt as to the authenticity of any contact regarding council tax, please call the council's freephone council tax helpline on 0800 393811.”

Highland Council Trading Standards work in partnership with Advice Direct Scotland (ADS).

Residents who think they may need advice can contact ADS who offer free and confidential consumer advice on 0808 164 6000 or by email through its website, www.consumeradvice.scot.

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