There’s a fake GOV.UK email doing the rounds falsely claiming you’ve qualified for a council tax reduction due to the pandemic. Here’s what it looks like.
We’ve been sent multiple examples of a new COVID-19 phishing email attempting to trick you into giving away personal and bank details in return for the promise of a refund.
It’s another spoofing scam taking advantage of the current situation, particularly preying on those who could qualify for a council tax reduction and might assume the email is genuine.
This is one version of the email that we’ve seen, but there are others circulating with similar messaging:
The email uses GOV.UK branding and similar wording to government communications, as well as being disguised to appear as though it’s come from a legitimate GOV.UK email address.
Clicking the link takes you to a page that asks for your personal details – the scammers could then use these details to get access to your money.
Spotting fake government emails
The email does give a few hints that all is not what it seems; official emails from the government about taxes and other payments will address you by name at the start of the message. But this email is generic, addressed to nobody in particular.
There’s poor use of spelling and grammar, with capital letters in the wrong places and statements that don’t quite make sense.
What’s more, the amount of refund in the subject line (£385.55) is different to the amount you’ll supposedly get that’s stated in the main email (£385.50).
Can I get a council tax reduction?
Some councils are in fact offering council tax payment breaks and reductions for those who are suffering financial difficulties because of the coronavirus crisis.
But if you do need to apply for help, get in touch with your council directly.
The government, or your local council, won’t be reaching out to you directly to offer tax breaks, so be cautious of any messages you receive that promise them.
If you do get an email from GOV.UK that you’re not sure about, you can always contact the government department that claims to have sent it to ask if it’s real.
Use contact details listed on the Gov.UK website rather than contact details contained in the email.
You can take a look at our consumer rights guide to find out more about spotting tax and government scams.
Have you received this email, or something similar recently? Tell us in the comments below. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve also recently launched a free scam email alert service. Register to get the latest updates on scams as we uncover them.