What is the scam?
Some Exeter Council Tax payers have had scam emails, phone calls or cold-callers at the door claiming to be from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Exeter City Council, or the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
These scammers can make a number of claims, including:
- your house is in the wrong Council Tax band
- you are due a refund and they need your bank details
- that there is a fee to challenge your current Council Tax band
- only their agents can challenge your Council Tax band
What is the truth?
Some homes may be in the wrong Council Tax band, and you have the right to challenge your current band free of charge through the Valuation Office Agency.
You do not need to use an agent for this service, and there are no fees involved. If the VOA agree that your band is wrong it will be altered, but please note that Council Tax bands can sometimes go up as well as down.
You can also find out your current Council Tax band, free of charge, on the GOV.UK website.
How to avoid being scammed
Don't put yourself at risk! Please go to GOV.UK's Avoid and report internet scams and phishing for more information about this type of scam and how you can report it.
Other actions you can take:
- don't give your bank details to anyone unless you know that they are genuine
- don't let anyone into your home without first seeing their ID
- don't feel under pressure from a cold-caller to pay an up-front fee. Take the time you need to think about it
- don't accept a cold-caller's claim that your band is wrong, without first seeing evidence. There is nothing wrong with checking
- don't speak to anyone who will not give you their company address or contact details
What to do if you think you have been scammed
Inform the police if anyone is pretending to be staff from HMRC or the VOA, or if a cold-caller refuses to leave your home.
Contact your local Trading Standards if you feel you have been the victim of a Council Tax scam.