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Warning over telephone council tax banding scam

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A warning has gone out today across West Devon for residents to be on the alert over a phone scam claiming to be able to reduce your Council Tax banding which was  perpetrated on an 87-year-old resident.

The Okehampton pensioner who is not being named for security reasons relayed his story to staff at Okehampton Customer Service Centre while calling in to pay his council tax.

Residents are advised that if they wish to check their Council Tax banding then this can be done for free through the Valuation Office Agency.

The victim said he was phoned that morning at 11am by a woman saying she represented a company from Sussex claiming to be able to reduce his council tax banding as he only had a two-bedroomed bungalow.

For an initial fee of £55 she offered to see if she could arrange for his Council Tax banding to be lowered.  She would then arrange for a direct debit for his new reduced Council Tax to be taken monthly.

Unfortunately, the victim did give full information about his property including his address, and he paid £55 by debit card.  When he had time to think about it, he realised that this might not have been a legitimate company.  He then went to the bank on his way to West Devon Borough Council and cancelled his bank card.

The firm rang back saying they had trouble accessing his account but when the victim asked for the phone number to ring the company back the caller declined to provide one.

Both the Police (101) and Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, (tel: 0300 123 2040) have been informed.

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