Scam alert: COVID-19 Council Tax reduction email

Press Release

Published on 17 August 2020
Archived on 17 September 2020


Officials from Stratford-on-Avon District are warning residents, following reports of an email hitting inboxes claiming to be from GOV.UK, offering a Council Tax reduction.

The email is covered in the branding of the UK Government and is signed off by the 'Government Digital Service Team'. It invites recipients to click on a link to 'Claim your Council Tax Reduction Now' and when opened takes the resident to a website which has the same look-and-feel as the GOV.UK website and asks for personal details such as name, address and banking details.

This message and website are fraudulent. Anyone who enters their details are at great risk of losing money.

Cllr Jo Barker, People Portfolio says: "It's so sad to see an email scam using the pandemic as an opportunity to target vulnerable people. There are many people that may fall prey to this, with very real money worries, as many are furloughed or out of work and would welcome a reduction in their Council Tax and might assume this email is genuine.

"Many scams take advantage of the real financial support schemes put in place by the government to help people manage and exploit people's financial concerns, impersonating trusted organisations, to trick them into giving away their money or information.

"The key is to stay alert - if something looks too good to be true, then chances are it's a scam. And if you're in any doubt then be sure to contact the District Council."

How to avoid scams

  • Stop: Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It's okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.


The District Council has no legal power to suspend the collection of Council Tax and must collect Council Tax, unless or until Central Government change this. We do completely understand the pressure many households now find themselves under but there are options available to help individual households.

Additional support may be available for families, already in receipt of council tax support and experiencing financial difficulties, depending on their individual circumstances.

Also most residents pay their Council Tax over 10 months but they are entitled to extend their Council Tax instalments from 10 to 12 months, reducing the monthly payments by paying over a longer period for no extra charge or by taking their two-month Council Tax 'holiday' now instead of in February and March next year.

If you do need assistance with your Council Tax payments please call the District Council on 01789 267575.  

Stratford-on-Avon District Council has received funding of £660,000 from the Government, as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to help those residents who receive Local Council Tax Support. This funding is targeted at benefit recipients classed as 'working-age' who qualify for Local Council Tax Support.

Those residents who are in receipt of Local Council Tax Support, this year, have received a one-off discount of up to £150, which the District Council has apply directly onto their Council Tax Account, meaning the total amount of Council Tax they need to pay will automatically be reduced by up to £150 and adjustments have been made automatically to those accounts that qualify.

If you have any queries regarding this please contact the Benefit Team by email at: benefits.sdc@stratford-dc.gov.uk

To date (end of May): The District Council has paid a total of £526,636.42 to 3,546 cases.

 


Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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