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Council tax band reassessment scam sparks warning to Highland residents

By Philip Murray

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Highland Council news.
Highland Council news.

SCAMMERS are targetting Highland residents with a council tax fraud.

Highland Council says it has been alerted that scammers are cold calling residents and claiming they can have their tax band reassessed for a £150 payment.

But council tax bands are determined by the Assessor and Electoral Registration Officer who is completely independent from the Highland Council.

The Assessor does not cold call customers nor reassess council tax bands in this way.

People who receive an email offering a council tax refund and asking to provide you bank account details by clicking on a link, should ignore it and delete it.

Those who are cold-called and asked to provide bank details should hang up.

"Any communication with Council Tax payers from the Council’s Corporate Resources Service about something like a refund would be in writing. We would never cold call asking for bank details,” said Allan Gunn, Highland Council’s head of revenues and customer services.

"Anyone receiving such an unsolicited call is advised to end the call immediately. Under no circumstances give any personal details to the caller. If anyone has a neighbour or relative who may be more susceptible to such activity, it would be helpful if this advice was passed on to them.

"If you have any doubt as to the authenticity of the call, please call the council's freephone council tax helpline on 0800 393811.”

Highland Council’s trading standards manager, David MacKenzie, added: “Our message is for members of the public to be extremely wary when they receive an unsolicited telephone call, text or email offering to reduce or claim back council tax on their behalf.

“This could be a ploy by scammers to gain confidential information such as bank account details from unsuspecting recipients. Our advice is to be on your guard and don’t respond.

“If residents think that they may be entitled to a reduction in their council tax, householders can contact council tax and benefits helpline on 0800 393811 for advice and assistance."

Highland Council trading standards work in partnership with Advice Direct Scotland (ADS). Concerned residents can contact ADS who offer free and confidential consumer advice on Freephone 0808 164 6000 or by email through their website at www.consumeradvice.scot.

Alternatively residents can also contact ADS through their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/advice.scot/

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