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Highland Council Trading Standards warns of Council Tax scam where the cold caller claims victims are entitled to a refund

By Ian Duncan

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Highland Council headquarters.
Highland Council headquarters.

Highland Council Trading Standards is warning residents that telephone calls claiming their property has been re-banded for Council Tax and they are entitled to a substantial refund is a scam.

The calls are known to have targeted the Caithness area but are likely to affect various parts of the community.

The caller asks the recipient for their bank details, including the long card number, expiry date and 3-digit verification code on the back of the card, to process the refund.

Mark McGinty, trading standards team leader, said: "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 calls offering a Council Tax band refund. Do not give out any personal information, particularly bank account or debit or credit details and end the call as quickly as possible. If you have any queries about Council Tax banding, you should contact the Highland Council in the first instance."

Sheila McKandie, head of revenues and business support, added: "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.

"If anyone has any doubt as to the authenticity of any contact regarding Council Tax, please call the council's freephone Council Tax helpline on 0800 393 811.”

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

Residents who think they may need advice can contact ADS, who offer free and confidential consumer advice, via email through their website.

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