FEARS some elderly people in Chester were being targeted by council tax scammers have been allayed.
Concerned city centre residents contacted the Leader after receiving phone calls informing them they could be due council tax rebates.
The callers told the residents their home was in the wrong council tax band and could be moved into a lower band if they paid about £175 for a property evaluation.
One Carter Street resident reported the call to Cheshire West and Chester Council’s valuation office and was told his home was in the correct band.
He said: “The valuation office agent made it abundantly clear that all the houses on Carter street are in the correct band, and that anyone who says otherwise is probably being disingenuous at best.”
However, the council said the callers were genuine and not part of a scam.
It said the calls were made on behalf of third-party companies who charge a commission for appealing against council tax bandings on behalf of residents.
A council spokesman said: “The council will shortly be issuing all residents with their council tax bills for 2013-14.
“We are aware that people will be looking for ways to reduce the amount that they are required to pay.
“If you feel that your property is in the wrong council tax band or there has been a material change to your property you can make an appeal to the Valuation Office to have the banding reviewed.
“The grounds for an appeal and how to make that appeal can be found on the Valuation Office website at www.voa.gov.uk .
“There are a number of companies operating within Cheshire that offer to appeal on your behalf in return for commission based on the value of savings or alternatively an up-front payment.
“Council tax payers can prepare their own appeal for free and retain any resulting savings.”
“However if you do decide to engage a third party to appeal on your behalf never provide personal information to cold callers”.
Information about discounts, exemptions and means tested benefits residents may be entitled to can be found at www. cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.
Anyone who wants any advice can call the council on 0300 123 7022.