Phone scam warning for Chichester district residents

The lifeboat from Selsey positioning itself alongside the Eridan
The lifeboat from Selsey positioning itself alongside the Eridan

People living in the Chichester District are being warned to stay extra vigilant about a council tax scam currently going on.

A number of bogus companies have phoned residents directly to say they will challenge the council tax banding on their behalf for an up front fee.

They either then take money and do nothing, or ask for a person’s bank details claiming it’s for a refund but instead withdraw money from the account.

Following a complaint last week, Chichester District Council is warning residents and reminding people that they can find out their council tax banding for free by contacting the valuation office.

Cllr Philippa Hardwick, cabinet member for finance, said: “We are urging residents to be extremely careful and not give out any details over the phone.

“If you are concerned about the banding of your property, you can do this for free by contacting your local valuation office. Anyone can do this and you don’t need a third party despite what these companies may tell you over the phone.

“No council will contact residents in this way and we certainly will not undertake cold calls at people’s homes and ask for their bank details.

“I would urge everyone to be vigilant and also keep an eye on older relatives or neighbours. Anyone concerned about a call should report it immediately.”

In some cases people were offered an agent by the fake company, who falsely claim they must have one by law to challenge the banding.

Any suspicious phone calls should be reported to Sussex Police by calling 101.

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