Tax Scam Information

From West Devon Borough Council

‘Be vigilant’ Warning on Council Tax refund scam
 
Residents in the West Devon are being reminded to watch out for a potential email scam which appears to offer a tax rebate.
 
This follows a suspicious email sent in by a South Devon resident and West Devon Borough Council are concerned should the fraudsters target their residents. It contained two letters sent from REFUND@directgov.uk which claim the recipient is eligible to receive a tax refund which can be reclaimed by completing and submitting a tax return form attached to the message. The form asks for the recipient’s bank details.
 
The reminder follows calls to be extra vigilant following a steep rise in fraud – monitored and logged by Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime.
 
Fraud offences in England and Wales rose by 25% in 2013, compared to the previous year, with 207,252 cases reported to Action Fraud and the police. But Citizens Advice has calculated up to four million people could be scammed each year as many scams go unreported. 
 
Council Leader Councillor Philip Sanders, chairman of the Resources Committee said: “We have seen reports of similar emails from other parts of the country so this appears to be part of a nationwide scam. We advise all residents to be wary of any unsolicited emails from unknown companies.
 
“Attachments to such emails may also contain viruses so be careful and don’t open them. The Council would never ask for a customer’s bank details or credit/debit card details via an email. We are grateful for the vigilance of this individual in reporting this email. If you receive anything that makes you suspicious please report it.”
 
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “You should always be wary of any unsolicited contacts and never give personal details to anyone whose identity you have not verified. Legitimate organisations are unlikely to be contacting people and asking for details such as these.
 
“Should you receive any contact you are unsure about, its legitimacy should be checked using the organisation’s contact details published in the phone book or a reliable source of information. Do not rely on details provided with the initial contact.”
 
Further information on what to do should you suspect you have received a scam letter or email can be found here: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/