Another con on our doorsteps

RESIDENTS are at risk of a new con that follows hot on the heels of a cold-calling PPI scam.

After the News & Mail warned the borough of the dangers of door-to-door fraudsters, Woking Borough Council have become aware of a company contacting locals claiming that their households could be in the wrong tax band, and that for an up-front fee they can reclaim overpayments on the householder’s behalf.

Marketing Communications Manager, Andy Denner, said: “We would urge people not to provide personal details, such as bank account details, to anyone over the phone or if they receive a personal visit.

“Anyone contacted by such a company should report the matter to Trading Standards on 0345 404 0506.”

To avoid falling victim to this reprehensible activity, the council are advising anyone who receives either a phone call or a doorstep visit to heed the following advice

  • Don’t agree to speak with anyone who is reluctant to supply their company address or contact details.
  • Don’t let anyone into your house unless they have a genuine reason for their call and can prove their purpose and identity with identification badges and/or documents.
  • Never disclose your bank details.
  • Inform the police if you believe a caller (either in person or on the phone) is not genuine.
  • Dial 999 if a cold caller refuses to leave your premises.
  • Take time to think about what is said to you, and don’t be pressurised by anyone to pay an immediate, up-front fee; if it is genuine there will be no urgency.
  • Don’t accept a cold-caller’s claims about your tax band without seeing documentary evidence of what is being claimed. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being sceptical.
  • Bear in mind that you can have your council tax band checked free of charge by asking your local Valuation Office to do so.

Anyone who believes their home is in the wrong council tax band should contact their Local Valuation Office and explain why they think it is incorrect.

Staff will ask callers to confirm that the details they hold about the property are up-to-date and accurate, and will always listen to what people have to say. If they end up agreeing that the property is in the incorrect tax band, they will arrange to change it.

Finally, be aware that intervention in valuation banding can sometimes end up with a property being raised to a higher band.

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