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Be Aware! Council Tax Scammers Still Targeting Highland

1st October 2019

The Highland Council has once again been alerted to a Council Tax scam whereby scammers are cold calling and claiming that the resident is due a council tax refund or can have their Council Tax band reassessed upon payment of £150.

Council Tax bands are determined by the Assessor and Electoral Registration Officer who is independent from the Highland Council.

If you have any queries regarding your Council Tax band please contact the Assessor at assessor@highland.gov.uk

The Assessor does not cold call customers nor reassess Council Tax bands in this way. This is a scam and the scammers are taking advantage of annual Council Tax bills being sent out at this time.

If you receive an email offering a Council Tax refund and asking you to provide your bank account details by clicking on a link, ignore it and delete the email.

If you are cold-called and asked to provide your bank details to receive a Council Tax refund, ignore the request and hang up.

Sheila McKandie, Acting Head of Revenues & Customer Services explained: "Any communication with Council Tax payers from the Council's Corporate Resources Service about something like a refund would be in writing. We would never cold call asking for bank details.

"Anyone receiving such an unsolicited call is advised to end the call immediately. Under no circumstances give any personal details to the caller. If anyone has a neighbour or relative who may be more susceptible to such activity, it would be helpful if this advice was passed on to them.

"If you have any doubt as to the authenticity of the call, please call the Council's freephone Council Tax helpline on 0800 393811."

Highland Council's Trading Standards Manager David MacKenzie added: "Our message is for members of the public to be extremely wary when they receive an unsolicited telephone call, text or email offering to reduce or claim back council tax on their behalf. This could be a ploy by scammers to gain confidential information such as bank account details from unsuspecting recipients. Our advice is to be on your guard and don't respond. If residents think that they may be entitled to a reduction in their Council Tax, householders can contact Council Tax and Benefits Helpline on 0800 393811 for advice and assistance.

"Highland Council Trading Standards work in partnership with Advice Direct Scotland (ADS). Concerned residents can contact ADS who offer free and confidential consumer advice on Freephone 0808 164 6000 or by email through their website address at: www.consumeradvice.scot . Alternatively residents can also contact ADS through their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/advice.scot/ ."

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