Rochdale Borough Council is warning residents to be on their guard against cold callers offering them big reductions on their council tax.
There have been reports that unscrupulous companies have been knocking on doors of elderly residents claiming that in return for an upfront fee they can recoup cash because houses are in the wrong banding.
While the practice is not illegal, the council is instead advising residents not to be duped and to contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) which will reassess properties free-of-charge.
If cold callers refuse to leave or act in a threatening manner, residents should also call the police.
Councillor Farooq Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “It is particularly worrying that these companies appear to deliberately target the elderly and vulnerable. We urge residents to think very carefully before they hand over any money to these firms. Council staff will never make an approach like this so be cautious.
"Offers like this often sound too good to be true and in most cases they usually are.”
Keith Mackenzie, Head of Revenues and Benefits at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Some of these individuals and companies have in the past claimed to be from or working with the council and this is incorrect. We’ve never done this and never would.
"Any resident contacting the council will be signposted directly to the VOA. The VOA do not charge for doing any of this work, so there is no need for residents to be paying individuals or companies to represent them.”
If you believe someone is impersonating staff from Rochdale Borough Council, or a cold caller refuses to leave, call the police non-emergency number on 101, or if you feel threatened dial 999.
If you suspect you have been the victim of a Council Tax scam telephone the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 to report it and to get advice.
For more information on Council Tax banding and how to reassess your property call the Valuation Office Agency on 03000 503 600 or visit www.voa.gov.uk
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