There are a number of scams related to Council Tax. Typically, these involve you getting a message or a phone call saying that you are entitled to a refund. They ask for card or bank details to send the refund to.
If you get do a phone call or message about a refund and asking for such details, it's a scam. Put the phone down if it's a call. If it's a text or email, don't click on any links, open any attachments, or fill in any forms.
You can report scam messages or emails to the police via the Action Fraud website.
You should contact your bank immediately if you have already given out bank details or think you have lost money because someone has used your card or bank details fraudulently.
You can contact the Council Tax team if you think you should get a refund.
Types of Council Tax scam
Here are some Council Tax scams that we have heard about:
Council Tax refunds - text scam
With this scam, you get a text that says:
“Dear customer. Please note that we have to refund you the amount: 422.40GBP council tax fee for the past year. Please visit: http://online-council-tax.co.uk”
This link redirects to a Spanish website 'www.2597368-0.web-hosting.es' where a fairly convincing GOV.UK form comes up asking a worrying amount of very personal information.
If you get one of these texts, or anything similar, it's not from us. Don't fill in the form.
Council Tax refunds - fraudulent emails
These fraudulent Council Tax refund emails quote an amount and refer to the Local Tax Office and the Local Taxation Officer. They even give a Council Tax refund ID number. The emails tell you to fill in a form with your card details in order to claim the refund.
These emails are not from us. Don't fill in the form.
Council Tax rebate - phone scams
Some Wirral residents have had phone calls where the caller tells them they are entitled to a Council Tax rebate and asks for bank details. The caller pretends to be from Wirral Council.
If you get one of these calls, don't give any information. Put the phone down, and report the call to Wirral Trading Standards.
A text is sent saying an enforcement team is in your area. It asks you to call a number to stop further action. A separate text says ‘Please contact our Customer Services department who can assist you with your council debt.’ Multiple texts may be received.
Please do not respond to the texts or call the number. They are not from us. You can block the number on your mobile so that you do not receive any more messages.
Help with Council Tax banding appeals or lowering your Council Tax band
External companies are contacting local people and offering to help them appeal against their property's Council Tax banding in return for a fee of up to 35% of any refund issued. This isn't illegal, but you can appeal yourself for free by contacting the Valuation Office Agency.
More information on scams
The Citizen's Advice website has useful information on how to spot and protect yourself from scams.