19th May 2020

Council tax Covid-19 scam targets public

As a seemingly endless stream of scams targeting the public during the Covid-19 crisis continues, a new fraud has emerged in which scammers pose as the Government.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
If anyone receives an email like this, do not click the link and report it to Action Fraud

A new phishing scam is landing in inboxes across the country. The phoney email, clad in UK Government branding, and signed off from ‘The Government Digital Service Team’, offers a supposed council tax reduction. The email quotes the annual reduction amount and asks the recipient to click a link to “claim your council tax reduction now”.

The link leads to a convincing page, also in UK Government branding, asking for personal details including name, address and banking details. It is designed to steal the details of unsuspecting members of the public.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “This is yet another email scam using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to target an increasingly vulnerable public. I am deeply concerned that people may fall prey to this, since many are out of work, or furloughed, and would welcome a council tax refund.

“If anyone receives an email like this, do not click the link and report it to Action Fraud. CTSI and our partners in the consumer protection landscape are working hard to inform the public about emerging scam activity, and assist with its prevention.”

As of mid-May, Action Fraud reports that over £3.5m has been stolen from the UK public in coronavirus-related scams since lockdown began.

To report instances of scam emails, or other suspected scam messages, go to go to the Action Fraud website, or if in Scotland, call Police Scotland on 101.

The public is also encouraged to become a Friend Against Scams, an initiative by National Trading Standards which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams.

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