PEOPLE in the Chard and Ilminster area are being warned to watch out for a bogus phone caller.

Mark Herrick contacted the News after he was called twice by a man describing himself as Gary Johnson from the Avon and Somerset Police media centre.

Mr Herrick, of Seavington, said the man, who he described as very pushy, obtained his details from an online directory service which he advertised his magic skills on.

He said: “The man explains that they issue a quarterly magazine to businesses throughout my area and would I like to advertise?

“I asked a few simple questions and the man got a little irritated, so I asked if he could email me some details and he said he was unable to do this.

“I asked if I could see a copy of the magazine and he told me you could see it online, but when I asked for the link he hung up.”

Mr Herrick said the man sounded as though he was in his late 40s to early 50s, and warned other people to be on the lookout for the scam.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman confirmed that the phone calls were a scam.

He said: “Every so often we get calls at our service centre from people who have had similar experiences and asking whether the publication is genuine.

“The only advice we can give is to ask people for a name of someone from the police who is involved in the publication and then call 101 to verify the information, but I think the caller hangs up long before it gets to this point.”

Reporter Daniel Milligan headed out on to the streets of Chard and Ilminster to find out what
tips people use to avoid being scam victims.

SIMON MOULDING, of Horton, said: “If you are not expecting something, do not trust it, and if it doesn't feel right then don't do it.”

JOAN AND ROY MILLINER, from Chard, said: “We have an answer machine which puts people off and if we don't recognise the number we don't answer the phone.”

ELLA HORSINGTON, from Ilminster, said: “We don't trust anyone and I don’t give out my phone number to people because I don’t want to get caught.”

SUSANNE TRAYNOR, from Ilminster, said: “I find myself assuming they are trying to get money out of me so I don't trust them.”