Argyll and Bute Council’s trading standards team has been made aware of a potential council tax scam operating in the area.
A member of the public in Tarbert received a phone call from someone claiming to be a representative of the council advising them that they were eligible for a council tax rebate of up to £7,000 because their council tax band had changed, but that they would have to pay a fee of £67 for it to be processed.
The member of the public did not pay the fee and contacted our trading standards team to make them aware of this potential scam.
If council tax payers were entitled to a refund the council would write to them informing them of any rebate. Refunds are issued on an ongoing basis to any account which becomes overpaid without them having to be requested.
Properties are assessed for council tax banding by the Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute Valuation Joint Board and can only be changed following an assessment on behalf of that board. Council tax banding changes are relatively rare and would usually only occur if the new owner of a property had contacted the assessor to query their council tax band; they would not happen out of the blue, as claimed by this scam.
Councillor David Kinniburgh, Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services, said of this scam: ‘’The council would never contact people over the phone in this way regarding a council tax rebate. The most important question people should ask themselves about unsolicited offers of this type is: ‘Do you feel happy about sharing your financial and personal details with someone you don’t know that has contacted you out of the blue?’ As always, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. We would advise Argyll and Bute consumers to ignore calls like this and to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.’’
If any members of the public have been contacted about this or any other scheme which they feel is not genuine they should phone the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 0506. The details will then be passed to local trading standards officers who will investigate any criminal aspect of the complaint.