Warnings over council tax and HMRC scams

Published Date: 

2 Nov 2017 - 15:44

Local residents are being warned not to fall victim to scammers pretending to be from Argyll and Bute Council or the HMRC.

The warning comes from the Council’s Trading Standards team after reports of local residents receiving fraud calls.

Callers claiming to be from the HMRC demand payment and people are told if they don’t pay up, they face prosecution. Concerns have been reported over ‘aggressive’ callers.

Scammers are also using phone calls and emails about council tax to attempt to defraud people.

One local resident has reported a call from what appeared to be a London-based number, insisting the household was paying the wrong level of council tax.

Scammers are also contacting people by email. The message claims the recipient is due a refund and it can be accessed by clicking on a link and confirming personal details before cash is transferred.

Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services, Councillor David Kinniburgh, said: “Unfortunately fraudsters are finding increasing new ways to target people and con them out of their money.

“Letters, emails, phone calls, text messages and social media are all being used to get people to part with their cash and around three million people a year are falling victim.

“There is plenty of sound advice out there on how to avoid falling victim to these people – please heed it. Don’t be one of the three million.

“If you do believe you have been a victim, or potential victim, of a scam speak up. By reporting anything suspicious you are providing vital information that could contribute to the identification of fraudsters and help in the fight to prevent fraudulent scams.

“The council tax scams are widespread but have been reported to us in Argyll and Bute.

 “The Council would never contact you to ask for personal information or discuss your level of council tax.

“Please take Trading Standards’ advice – don’t reply to any emails as your information could be sold to other scammers or even used for identity theft, and hang up the phone if you suspect a scam.

“If you receive a call asking you to call back to claim a rebate, ignore it. You can check with us whether the call or message you’ve received is legitimate, but it’s most likely to be fraudulent.

“Too many people are being conned out of their hard-earned cash – we’ve all heard the awful stories of people thinking calls and emails are legitimate and paying the price. The elderly and vulnerable are a particular target of these scammers but they are so plausible, anyone could be taken in.

“Don’t let yourself be one of them.”

 For more information, or to report a suspected scam, contact the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 or Action Fraud – www.actionfraud.police.uk