Local residents contacted by fraud council tax refund claims

East Lothian Council’s Trading Standards team have been informed of a number of Council Tax refund scams that are currently operating.  Some local residents have been phoned by scammers suggesting they may be eligible for a council tax refund and other have received a letter.

Examples of the tactics used by bogus callers include:

  • Charging an up-front fee with an added 20% of the reduction should they successfully reduce your council tax band
  • Insisting you are definitely in the wrong band and are owed back payments on your Council Tax bill, when in fact your band is correct
  • Saying they are from East Lothian Council and asking for your bank details so they can provide a refund. The fraudsters will then steal money from the bank account

How to avoid falling victim to this scam:

DO

  • If you receive a call offering to reduce your band, make sure you are getting a dial-tone before calling the council to check their story
  • Inform the police if you believe that anyone is impersonating staff from East Lothian Council
  • Dial 999 if a doorstep cold-caller refuses to leave your home

Contact the Trading Standards office if you feel you have been the victim of a Council Tax scam. You can contact Trading Standards in confidence on 01620 827365 or email [email protected].

DON’T

  • Give your bank details to anyone
  • Let anyone into your home without seeing appropriate identification
  • Feel under pressure from a cold-caller to pay an immediate up-front fee. Take the time you need to think about it
  • Accept cold callers’ claims about your Council Tax band without seeing evidence or proof of what they are claiming
  • Deal with anyone that is reluctant to give you their company address or contact details
Published: Wednesday, 11th April 2018