Oxford City Council is warning residents to watch out for council tax scams aimed at getting their personal bank details and conning them out of their money.
Alarm raised over new council tax scam
One new scam email purports to be from the “Government Digital Service Team,” and alerts the recipient to a council tax reduction, before directing them to a malicious site set up to harvest personal information.
Cybersecurity firm Absolute Software has warned that since the start of the coronavirus, the cyber threat facing adults has surged, and the latest attack is one of many designed to prey on individuals’ vulnerability and fear during this trying time.
Oxford City Council’s Investigation Service works with fraud prevention organisations to highlight current and emerging types of fraud and scams. Many follow a similar pattern, preying on the most vulnerable in society.
“Scammers may contact people by phone, text or email, or they may knock on your door. They may pose as staff from the Council, the Valuation Office Agency or the Tax Recovery Bureau to lure people into their scam. Don’t be taken in!
“They may tell people that they have paid too much council tax and are due a refund that fraudsters offer to claim on their behalf for a fee. But please take note - the Council will never ask for payment to make a council tax refund.”
Councillor Ed Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Asset Management
Be on guard for other scams
Scams may also involve telling people that their home is in the wrong council tax band, offering a refund in return for a fee. But genuine council tax band reassessments are free. Another scam demands payment for supposed council tax arrears.
Oxford City Council does ask for information from residents to administer their council tax accounts, including refunds or arranging arrears collection. Residents who want to verify genuine contact from the Council should call 01865 249 811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – all Oxford City Council email addresses end with @oxford.gov.uk
More information about scams can be found on the GOV.UK website