Council Tax warning: New scam could hit Britons in the pocket – look out for this email

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Council Tax is a levy which is collected by a local council to cover the cost of services in a person’s local community. Normally, the bill is collected in 10 monthly instalments, with two months of not making any payments, and the tax varies depending on the type of property a person lives in, and their personal circumstances. Council Tax, therefore, is a fairly regular and often significant outgoing for many households.

However, members of the public have been warned about a convincing scam currently circulating, which could defraud Britons.

A new email phishing scam has been noted, which could prove disastrous for unwitting victims.

The email purports to be from the Government Digital Service Team, and claims Britons could receive a reduction in their council tax. 

The message reads: “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.

“Apply now to claim the reductions made over your past five years of council tax payments.”

The email then goes on to state a person will receive a refund directly onto their debit or credit card. 

Britons are urged to click a link which will prompt them to fill in personal and banking information.

This will direct people to a malicious website, designed to harvest the sensitive data of people right across the country.

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Unfortunately, this could prove devastating for those who fall victim, with their information stolen or bank accounts cleared.

The scam has already been reported in a large number of areas across the country including Oxford, Stoke-on-Trent, Kent, Staffordshire and Derbyshire. 

Britons have therefore been urged to remain on the lookout for any signs of a scam, in order to protect their personal details. 

One of the first warning signs is the email address the message comes from. 

People have been prompted to check whether the address contains the official domain when looking at the email. If not, it is unlikely to be from a reliable source.

In addition, a number of discrepancies have been noted within emails of this kind.

Britons should check whether there are spelling or punctuation errors, or formatting issues within emails they receive purporting to be from official sources.

People have also been told not to click on any links where they are unsure of the email’s source.

Finally, if in doubt, Britons should always phone their local council directly to confirm if the email is valid.

Several people have taken to social media to share their close brushes with council tax scammers in recent days.

One wrote: “I received an email stating I was entitled to a council tax refund, and all I needed to do was provide my bank details. People are scared.”

And another said: “Another scam is doing the rounds, as usual, looking official. Click with your bank details and your money will disappear. Stay aware.”

A number of Britons have also reported similar scams taking place via telephone, and so people are advised to take extra caution in this manner also. 

Those who believe they may have seen the scam, or indeed, sadly fallen victim to it, are encouraged to contact Action Fraud who may be able to investigate the issue further. 

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