Published: February 28, 2013
Burnham-On-Sea residents warned of council tax savings scam

Residents across the Burnham-On-Sea area have this week been warned to be aware of a telephone scam in which home owners are offered bogus council tax reductions.

Police said today they have received several complaints in Burnham relating to unsolicited phone calls and cold callers where people claim to offer reductions in council tax as part of a scheme operated on behalf of the government and Sedgemoor District Council.

They claim that for a one-off fee they can reassess housing bands which could result in homeowners qualifying for lower council tax.

Police have confirmed that Sedgemoor District Council do not support such claims, which are believed to be bogus.

Sergeant Ian Kennet of Burnham Police told "The council do not recognise the claims made by these callers and we believe them to be a scam."

"People should not be calling door-to-door in no-cold calling zones and we would urge people to report this behaviour to us on the police non-emergency telephone number 101."

"Unfortunately people use this type of activity to target the vulnerable people in our communities and we will take all reports we receive very seriously."

And Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun added: "The tricksters tell customers that they are due a reduction in their Council Tax Band and ask them for their bank details for a refund to be made."

"Other councils have reported someone phoning claiming to be from a government department, offering a year's council tax refund as a reward for prompt payment over the past number of years."

"In that case, the resident was suspicious, and when the caller was asked to identify herself and the department she represented the caller hung up."

"This type of scam is similar to a number of bogus telephone calls occurring in growing numbers across the country, the nature of which is to deceive the recipient into revealing personal bank details by promising a refund of council tax to be paid into their account."

If a customer has recently received a phone call and been asked for their bank details they should phone the council to check the validity. If, at any time, a customer has any doubt about the identity of a person telephoning and claiming to work for Sedgemoor they should request a name and extension number and ring 0845 4082540, Sedgemoor Direct, to confirm the caller’s identity before giving any personal bank details.


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