The Council has been made aware of people receiving texts in various areas of the Country saying:
“Dear customer. Please note that we have to refund you the amount: 422.40GBP council tax fee for the past year. Please visit: "http://online-council-tax.co.uk""
This link is redirecting to a malicious website where a convincing Government form comes up.
Stratford District Council is not sending out any text messages about Council Tax Refunds, the advice is not to open the web link if a message comes through to you claiming it is from Stratford District Council.
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) also provide information on bogus Council Tax scams.
Other Examples of scams to be aware of are:
Calls have been taken in the Contact Centre recently involving a potential scam targeting residents in the area. In this case, a lady purported to be representing the Stratford-on-Avon District Council's Council Tax Department. It was in regard to a potential refund of thousands of pounds following a change in Council Tax banding. On this occasion the lady requested bank details up front in order to facilitate the refund as well as a £65.00 upfront payment for admin costs. When the request was refused and the resident requested the number to call the company back on, to verify that they were genuine, the caller slammed the phone down.
This was not a legitimate call and we would not request payment in this manner from residents. If you are in any doubt, please verify with the Council using the Council Tax helpline on (01789) 260990.
The Council has become aware of an increasing number of cold calls from fraudsters calling Council taxpayers telling them their Council Tax band has been reduced, and requesting bank details and dates of birth to process the refund.
A reference number is given along with a telephone number 0905 005 0400.
If you receive such a call you may wish to contact the police.
Never divulge information unless you are sure of the identity of the caller.
To check if a call is genuine contact the Council Tax helpline.
A resident in the District got in touch to say they had received a call saying that they were entitled to a Council Tax refund.
The caller claims to be from the District Council and will be making a personal call to your property to refund an overpayment of Council Tax.
This is not genuine and they are not from the District Council.
If a council tax payer does overpay, the District Council will arrange a refund direct to the paying bank account or will send a cheque to the account payer. These refunds are not hand delivered.
If any callers come to your house claiming they are from the District Council and that you are owed a refund for Council Tax and you cannot establish their identity by calling the District Council, or if you have any doubt regarding their identity we advise you dial 999 and ask for the police.
All District Council employees carry staff identity cards and will be happy for you to call the District Council on 01789 267575 to check their authenticity.
Remember: never disclose personal or valuable details such as your date of birth, passport or driving licence number, credit card or bank details, security numbers or passwords, unless you are confident about the identity of the person you are talking to.
There are companies who offer to try and get a council tax band reduced on behalf of a council tax payer, these companies will normally charge a fee or a % of any savings. Council tax payers do not have to be represented in discussions about their council tax bands. Appeals against bands can be made free of charge and the Council advice is to contact the Valuation office Agency on 03000 501501, to discuss the band.
However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a council tax adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.
For further information please contact Revenues on 01789 260990 or by email at email@example.com or by fax on 01789 260969.