mobile phone council tax scam

Police have this week urged people in the Burnham-On-Sea area to be on their guard against telephone fraudsters following several incidents in Somerset.

One person was scammed out of £5000 by heartless fraudsters but two people thwarted the scammers by cutting the callers off.

The latest incidents appear to have been targeting the elderly and vulnerable in Somerset, say Police.

“We want people to be vigilant and on their guard. In the latest incident the scammers posed as officers from the Metropolitan Police, claiming that the victim’s grandson had been arrested for using a cloned copy of their bank card, encouraging the victim to confirm their bank card details,” says a Police spokesman.

“In another call they claimed that there was a major investigation into the victim’s bank and local post office, involving counterfeit money.”

“He was asked to support the investigation by withdrawing cash and checking the serial numbers of the notes. They claimed it was fake cash and said a courier would be sent to collect the counterfeit notes for forensic examination.”

“In a third incident the potential victim thwarted the scammer by stopping the phone call.”

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

“Our 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, please speak to them and share our crime prevention tips and remind them of the threat from telephone fraudsters.”

“People who receive a call on their landline and are asked to contact their local police station or bank to verify the caller’s details ideally need to put the receiver down and not touch it for five minutes, just in case the fraudster has kept the line open. Ensure you have a dialling tone before re-using. Ideally use another phone such as a mobile phone or a neighbour’s phone and use 101 to verify the call.”

“We would also appeal to taxi drivers who are asked to collect parcels – especially from elderly – to be vigilant and contact us if they are suspicious.”

“If you believe you have been scammed by a telephone caller, please contact us.”

Residents can call the Police on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5219299839.