Residents and business owners in North Kesteven are being urged by the district council not to be caught out by scams about Council Tax or rateable values.
The authority advises if you have been approached by someone telling you that they can get either of these bills reduced you need to begin by identifying the agents and making sure it is a bona fide call.
North Kesteven District Council does not employ anyone to look at your Council Tax or rateable value for your property so if you are told by the agent that they are working on behalf of the authority or the Valuation Office contact NKDC, or the Valuation Office directly before providing the caller with any personal information, especially bank account details.
Coun Richard Wright, Leader of North Kesteven District Council, said: “Please make sure you check who you are dealing with and do not provide personal information, including your bank details, to anyone cold calling you.
“We do not want residents or business owners caught out by unscrupulous people whose aim is to get their hands on someone’s money unlawfully.
“If you receive a call from someone claiming to be acting on our behalf, please contact us so that we can investigate it and make sure no one is caught out.”
There are a number of tactics that fraudulent agents may use to get you to part with your money.
Typical scams include:
○ Insisting your house is in the wrong Council Tax band and that you are owed a refund on the bill. They might say they are from the Council or Valuation Office and then ask for your bank details to get your refund to you. Unfortunately they will then steal money from your account.
○ Claim that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) makes a charge for you to challenge your Council Tax bill. This is not true, you can do this for free.
○ State they are on an approved list of agents recognised by the VOA, however no such list exists
○ Claim that a taxpayer must, in law, be represented by an agent to challenge their band. This is not true - anyone may challenge their Council Tax band directly with the VOA.
○ Tell you that they have submitted an appeal to the VOA on your behalf and give you a forged acknowledgement notice when, in fact, they have not submitted an appeal.
○ Claim that they can get you a rate relief on your business rates.
Contact NKDC directly or check out its website www.n-kesteven.gov.uk for the full range of rate reliefs available, and contact the council directly. You do not need an agent to claim rate relief if you are entitled to it.
To contact the Council Tax collection team call 01522 873217 or 01522 873342 for Business Rates. The postal address for queries on either of these is PO Box 1257, Lincoln, LN5 5PQ.