Coventry’s trading standards department has issued an urgent warning about a council tax email scam that is doing the rounds.
The bogus email has been received by several residents in Coventry.
The email tells the recipient they are due a discount on their council tax and therefore can claim a refund on part of their payments.
It claims they are due a ‘council tax reduction’ of £395.50.
People are asked to click on a link to ‘apply now’ to claim reductions for the past two years. Coventry City Council’s trading standards department warns the email is a phishing e-mail scam.
The link does not take people who click on it to Coventry City Council’s council tax department but rather a fraudster’s website where they are asked to provide personal and bank details.
The city’s trading standards department has issued the following tips to people to protect themselves.
* Do not click on any links or open attachments contained within any unsolicited emails.
If an email appears to have come from a person or organisation you know of, but the message is unexpected or unusual, contact them directly via another method to confirm that they sent you the email.
* If you receive an email which asks you to log-in to an online account via a link provided in the email, instead of clicking on the link, open your browser and go directly to the company’s website yourself.
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The emails come out twice a day, at lunchtime and in the evening, with the latest news, what’s on and sport from across Coventry and Warwickshire.
* If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.
* If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank, and report it to Action Fraud.
* The Valuation Office Agency, who are responsible for determining the council tax band for your home, have provided some useful information about council tax scams and what you can do to avoid them. This is available via their website.
An example of the email is below:
“Working out your Council Tax
“You`ll need to know 3 things:
“The valuation band for your home in England and Wales or in Scotland how much your local council charges for that band whether you can get a discount or exemption from the full bill
“You are getting a Council Tax Reduction (this used to be called Council Tax Benefit) considering you`re on a low income or get benefits.
“Total amount of benefits: GBP 395.50
“The refund amount will be transferred directly on your Debit/Credit Card.
“Apply now to claim the reductions made over your past 5 years of Council tax payments.”