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St Helens Council issue warning over council tax scam
2:06pm Sunday 7th October 2012 in News
SCAMMERS who claim they can claw back council tax refunds are targeting St Helens households.
Trading Standards officers have issued a warning after several residents complained of receiving unsolicited telephone calls from people claiming to be from a company or the council itself.
Residents were told they are entitled to council tax refunds worth hundreds of pounds because their property was in the wrong band or that they qualified for benefit.
But with upfront fees of £125 to £150 demanded by the callers – along with 25 to 50 per cent of any money recovered – council officials are concerned about vulnerable people paying for a service which can be done for free.
Watchdogs are urging residents who receive these calls never to give their card or bank details out over the phone.
Councillor Richard McCauley said: “The message is simple – do not pay for this service. You do not need to employ a company to claim back council tax overpayments.
“Anybody who thinks they have been paying more Council Tax than they should of can have their case reviewed - and it’s completely free.”
To enquire about benefits or refunds on council tax, residents should contact the council’s Revenue and Benefits Contact Centre on 01744 676666.
If residents believe their property is in the wrong council tax band, they need to contact the Valuation Office on 03000 501501.
Anyone approached by one of these companies – or who feels they might be the victim of a similar scam - can contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
For more information about scams and how to avoid being a victim residents can visit www.actionfraud.police.uk