Beware: Potential housing benefit fraud

26 November 2020

Alert

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A number of potential frauds have recently been reported to the council by residents.

Beware of fraudsters

A third party has been writing letters claiming to be from the London Borough of Waltham Forest regarding potential reductions to Council Tax as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19 and, more recently, regarding the Council Tax Support scheme. Both letters appear to be from the same source having very similar formats.

What to look out for

The letters direct the recipient to what appears to be a U.K. government website: gov.waltham-support.co.uk or a company working with the Council. tax-band-london.co.uk

These are not official government websites.

The website asks the user for a reference number held on the letter. 

When this reference number is entered, the address the letter was sent to appears and the user is asked to provide certain personal information.

It is not possible to establish exactly what information is being requested because the Council can only enter the website by compromising the address of the people who reported the scams.

Both the letter and the website are fake but are of good quality and, as a result, are fairly convincing.

Copies of both letters are produced below and the points to be aware of are:

  • If the Council is offering a discount on the Council Tax it will generally write to the person whose name appears on the bill – not ‘The Occupier’.
  • The standard of written English used in the letter falls far below the standard the Council would use in a bulk letter.
  • The web address quoted ends co.uk – almost invariably, online business conducted by a local authority, central government and most government agencies will end .gov.uk.  The use of the word gov anywhere in a web address other than immediately before .uk may well indicate an attempted fraud.

Because this is a scam scheme, there is no information available on either the Council or Government websites which supports the content of the letter.

What to do if you suspect a scam

In the event that you have received this letter and have acted on it you should report the incident to

Citizens Advice are also able to provide assistance regarding online scams.