Residents warned over council tax refund scams

Newham Council is warning residents not to be fooled by a fake email purporting to be from the Government claiming that people have qualified for a refund of Council Tax.

Residents have contacted the Council to say they’ve received a Covid-19 phishing email attempting to trick them into giving away personal and bank details in return for the promise of a refund.

Councillor James Beckles, Cabinet member for crime and community safety, said: “Don’t be fooled. It’s a scam by fraudsters looking to cash in on the current coronavirus situation, particularly preying on those who could qualify for a Council Tax reduction and might assume the email is genuine.”

The email claims to be from the Government Digital Service Team. It uses GOV.UK branding and similar wording to Government communications. Clicking the link takes you to a page that asks for your personal information such as bank card details, account number, sort code and security code, in addition to one's home address and mobile phone number. It claims that the recipient of the email could receive a Council Tax refund of almost £400.

Councillor Beckles added: “The offer of a Council Tax refund might seem tempting, but you could end up with having your information stolen. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.”

If you receive a refund email from the Government, do not click on it. All correspondence relating to your Council Tax bill will be sent from Newham Council rather than the Government. Be cautious of any messages you receive that promise refunds. If you do need helping in paying your Council Tax bill, get in in touch with the Council.

If you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber-crime, you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre, any time of the day or night at Action Fraud . You can also call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Published: 01 Sep 2020