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Residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area have this week been warned to be alert for telephone scammers after several people have phoned Sedgemoor District Council to report scams. 

The latest warning comes after residents say they have been contacted by people or companies who claim they can get your council tax banding reduced for a fee.

However, Council Tax bands are set by the Valuation Office Agency and can only be changed under certain conditions defined at www.gov.uk/council-tax-appeals.

“If you think your band is wrong, contact the Valuation Office Agency – you will not be charged for the service,” says Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun.

“If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax bill and need help, speak with a member of the Council Tax Team on who will be able to offer help and advice on 0300 303 7801.”

“Another reported scam is by people pretending to be from the Police.  The scammers telephone and say that your card is being used.”

“They ask you to put the phone down and ring back on a number to check their ‘authenticity’, but they keep the line open and the say they are the Police when you call back.”

“Neither the police nor the banks will ask you for banking details or PIN numbers on the phone. Similarly, they would never send a courier to collect bank cards or money.”

The Police’s message is don’t discuss your finances with anyone who calls you out of the blue, even if they claim to be a police officer or a representative from a bank fraud department.

Genuine callers will be happy for you to make an appointment to visit them at a bank branch or police station. They will never ask you to withdraw cash on their behalf; arrange for cash to be collected by a courier; ask for details about your bank card; or ask for the PIN on your card.

If you know someone who may be vulnerable to this type of offence, speak to them and share crime prevention tips and remind them of the threat from telephone fraudsters.

More information on protecting yourself from fraud is available on the Police website and from Action Fraud.

If you have given over personal details, call the Police straight away on 101 and report the matter as an identity theft scam. The Police will also direct you to the Action Fraud helpline on 0300 123 2040.


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