By Lucy Ashton
Police Scotland is urging local residents to be vigilant following a number of reported incidents of unsolicited phone calls and emails residents have received over the past three months which are scams.
A number of different types of fraud have been reported to us, which include a phone call pretending to be from your bank or a Scottish Fraud Team, advising that your account has been compromised and requesting either, immediate transfer of funds into an account they provide you, or withdrawal of money from your account and physical posting of this money to a detailed address.
In September 2021, an 82-year-old woman in Oban was contacted by phone by a person claiming to be from her bank. She was asked to withdraw large sums of money and send it via ‘special delivery’ as part of an investigation into bank staff who may have been defrauding her account. The woman was told by the caller if questioned by bank staff to state the reason was a family purchase.
This is a scam. No bank will ever ask you to withdraw cash from your account and send on.
On Tuesday, 12 October, 2021, a resident in Campbeltown received a phone call from a person claiming to be from her bank, requesting they attend the bank to collect £17,000 in cash, before then meeting with a police officer to hand over the money.
This is a scam. No police officer or member of police staff will ever ask for money nor will they ask for personal financial information out with a full police investigation.
In August 2021 we received a report of a romance fraud, where a person gains the trust of a victim through social media or a dating app and slowly seeks to draw money out of them after securing a romantic connection.
A 49-year-old woman in Lochgilphead reported sending over £23,000 to an unknown person met via a dating app. The fraudster continually requested transfers of money, along with valuable items as gifts.
This is a scam. Do not send any money to people you have not met in person. Discuss any requests of this nature with friends and family, or with police, to help test check what is taking place and ensure someone is not manipulating you.
Other scams include:
- Emails and text messages purporting to be from a service provider such as your bank, internet, or delivery company requiring you to input personal details or click on a hyperlink. Do not respond to the message or click any links. Go through the company’s own website and only phone using the numbers detailed there. Check whether they have sent the correspondence.
- Cold calling by companies, either at your door in person or via telephone. Responsible companies avoid doing this. The advice is clear, never buy from or pass your personal or financial details to a cold caller.
- Financial service providers, advertising on social media, offering high value returns for investments in shares or Cryptocurrency. How can you check if they’re reliable? Check the company with the Financial Conduct Authority. If a deal is too good to be true, it usually is. Reputable firms don’t cold call, pressure sell, use ‘mobile numbers’ or offer heightened investment returns beyond the ability of trusted businesses.
Inspector Paul Collins from Lochgilphead Police Station said: ”Do not trust any unexpected correspondence. Never pass your personal or financial details to anyone unless you’re clear who they are and why they require that information.
“If you feel the need to reply to correspondence to check the authenticity of a contact, please, only use the company’s verified official website and the communication methods detailed upon it. Especially where money is being requested, be it physically withdrawing it from the bank or the electronic transferring of it, always, stop, think and check with a friend, relative or neighbour before taking any action. Any victims of such crimes, or anyone with any concerns can contact Police Scotland via 101.”