HALTON residents are being urged to watch out for conmen claiming to obtain council tax refunds.

The warning follows the arrest of a man as part of a Trading Standards investigation after a company told householders it could recoup hundreds of pounds in overpaid council tax or have properties re-valued at a lower tax band.

Halton Trading Standards wants to make local residents aware of the scam.

Halton Clr Dave Cargill, board member for consumer protection, said: “One of the key things to remember is that you should not be paying any money for this service. It is easy and free of charge to request a re-banding of a property for the purposes of assessing council tax.

“The Valuation Office Agency deals with this and if you think your property needs revaluing you should contact them.

“Last year Warrington and Halton Trading Standards received 204 calls about this issue and we have advised residents accordingly. We also reported that thousands of pounds were saved thanks to our warning which was great news. Unfortunately we are aware that in 2013 more than £4,585 was also paid out and we are determined to bring this figure to £0.

“Sadly, it’s often the most vulnerable residents who get targeted for things like this so it’s important to talk to family and friends. “Trading standards teams across the region are working hard with partners to tackle this issue and are sending a clear message that it will not be tolerated.”

If you think your property is in the wrong council tax band, please just contact the Valuation Office Agency in Liverpool on 03000 501501 or visit the website at www.voa.gov.uk To report incidents of bogus callers, call the police on the new non-emergency number, 101. If you need consumer advice about please call Halton and Warrington Trading Standards on 08454 040506.