Some of Lancashire’s most vulnerable residents are being targeted by cold-callers, who claim they could be due a council tax rebate.
Several companies have set up in the area, charging an up-front free for investigating property banding, or a per centage of any resulting rebate.
Although the practice is not illegal, the service is offered free-of-charge by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), who described the firms as operating “a kind of scam”.
Heather Bee’s 81-year-old mother and 83-year-old dementia patient father of Ash Coppice, Lea, were approached by one company, and arranged a home visit.
Heather, 52, said: “To me it’s a scam and it’s pathetic.
“My parents are vulnerable, and you don’t know who is ringing up to make appointments to come round.
“My mum can’t remember the company name, and if people give over their bank details, who knows what could happen.”
Miss Bee said she has heard of parents of friends also being contacted by firms in the Lancashire area.
She added: “I’m pretty sure that the people from this company weren’t just visiting my parents that day.”
She also said: “I’ve got to say that it has, and is, still having a very detrimental affect on my mother who already has lots of other issues to deal with.”
A VOA spokesperson said: “Where a taxpayer has concerns about their council tax band, they can contact the VOA at any time to explain why they think it might be wrong. We will also review the bands of similar neighbouring properties to ensure they are correct. We provide this service free of charge.
“Taxpayers can instruct a third party to challenge on their behalf. However, many will charge a fee for this service, whereas the VOA will do this for free.”