We have received two reports of residents receiving calls from a person claiming to be from Hertsmere Borough Council’s Council Tax office to say that a refund in due.
During the call, the resident is asked to confirm their account name, address, date of birth and bank details for the money to be refunded.
Both called us to confirm the call and we have given advice to contact their bank to stop any payments as well as to notify the police.
A hoax could be a telephone call, email, text message or someone at your door. If you have any concerns, do not give out any personal information and contact the council on 020 8207 2277.
The scam calls can take a number of forms, including:
The ‘paid too much Council Tax’ scam: The scammers tell you that you have paid too much Council Tax and that you can claim the cash back for a small fee. They will ask for your bank details so you can have the tax repaid into your account.
The ‘property in the wrong band’ scam: The scammers tell you that your property is in the wrong Council Tax band. You are then told you are due a refund, asked for a fee to release the money and for your bank details. GOV.UK has further information about this scam.
The ‘due a reduction or refund’ scam: The scammers tell you that you are due a Council Tax reduction and refund. The scammer may tell you that they need an initial payment from you to release the refund.
We will never telephone, email or message you to ask for a payment to release a Council Tax overpayment or ask for your bank details. Please remember, never:
- 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 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.
If you think your Council Tax account is in credit and/or that you are due a refund call our Customer Service Team on 020 8207 2277.
The Valuation Office Agency is responsible for determining the council tax band for your home, and has provided some useful information about council tax scams and what you can do to avoid them, and how you can check/challenge your council tax band free of charge. This information is available via their website.
Herts Police and Herts County Council are able to offer more information about phone scams.
If you have been the victim of a scam, please contact the police straight away, and/or report it to Action Fraud.
Posted on Wednesday 20th February 2019