Watch out for latest scams involving council tax payments

Last Updated:

Last Updated: 12 Jun 2019 11:22am

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council is warning residents to be wary of unsolicited emails, texts or telephone calls from people offering to secure refunds for overpaid council tax, or to demand money for arrears.

The warning comes after the Local Government Association highlighted the latest scams from fraudsters who promise, for a fee, to make a claim on the resident’s behalf. In the case of arrears, they demand money to pay off the debt.

The scammers are also offering to secure refunds for properties that are in the wrong council tax band, again for a fee.

Sharon Shelton, the Borough Council’s Director of Finance and Transformation, says: “These are the latest in a range of scams aimed at tricking people to part with their bank details and their cash. Our officers never email, text or telephone residents to ask them to confirm their bank details and we are urging residents to be extremely wary of these unscrupulous individuals who may use a variety of tactics to try to get them to part with personal details or money.”

Sharon Shelton adds: “I would also like to emphasise that we will never share My Account users’ details with third parties.”

How to avoid falling victim to scammers:

Don’t

  • Don’t give your bank details to anyone who contacts you by email or who calls in person claiming to be from the Council.
  • Don’t let anyone into your home without seeing appropriate identification.
  • Don’t feel under pressure from a cold-caller to pay an immediate up-front fee for anything. Take time to think about it.
  • Don’t accept cold callers’ claims about your council tax band or details without seeing evidence or proof of what they are claiming.
  • Don’t speak to anyone who is reluctant to give you their company address or contact details.

Do

  • Verify the authenticity of anyone purporting to be from Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s council tax team by calling 01732 876388.
  • Inform the police by calling 101 if you believe that anyone is impersonating staff from your local council or the Valuation Office.
  • Remember that you can have your band checked free of charge by contacting your local Valuation Office
  • Dial 999 if a cold caller refuses to leave your home.
  • Contact your local Trading Standards Service if you feel you have been the victim of a council tax scam by calling 01622 221012 or email trading.standardswest@kent.gov.uk