Council Tax reduction scam email

19 May 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council has been made aware of a new phishing email claiming to be a Council Tax reduction payment from GOV.UK.

Councillor Carol Gahan, the Council's Cabinet Member for Legal and Finance, said: "There has been an increase in the number of scam emails and calls being made. Please be extra careful and check anything that looks suspicious.

"In this instance, Council Tax correspondence would be from the local authority and not central government. Any personal correspondence would be addressed correctly to the Council Tax payer and you wouldn't expect to receive an email unless an application had already been made."

You can apply for Council Tax reduction whether you are working or unemployed. How much you may receive will depend on your income and circumstances.

Details about the Council Tax reduction scheme can be found on the Council website.

The scam email says:
 
You have a new message from GOV.UK about your Council Tax

Hi @hotmail.co.uk,

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 385.50
  • The refund amount will be transferred directly on your Debit/Credit Card.
Apply now to claim the reductions made over your past 2 years of Council tax payments.

The information in this electronic e.Mail message is private and confidential, and only intended for the addressee.

Thanks

The Government Digital Service Team

Advice on preventing yourself being scammed:
  • stop, think, and be sceptical. Did the communication come out of the blue
  • do not give personal or financial information to someone you do not know
  • genuine organisations will never telephone and ask for personal or financial information
  • never make cash payments by money transfer
  • your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone. 
If you think you've been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk and complete the free online training.

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