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WARNING: Highland Council's trading standards plea for people to be on guard against telephone scam

By Andrew Dixon

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Highland Council's trading standards team are warning of a new scam where people receive an unexpected telephone call at their place of work, purporting to be from their bank.

A spokeswoman said: "There is a sense of urgency about the call and it refers to previous letters sent and that you are due money from your bank.

"As is usual with scam calls, the callers are attempting to gain information about you, particularly financial information, and they may already know a fair amount of personal information about you and just need a little extra to have all they need to take your money.

"At this time of year scams are on the increase, scammers take advantage of the fact that most people have many things on their mind to juggle and perhaps we don’t take enough time to think about what is happening."

Trading standards offer the following advice:

  • If the call is unexpected be very aware.
  • Never give out any information.
  • The best advice is to simply put the phone down.
  • If you are unsure contact your bank fraud team by another telephone line and ask them.

Mark McGinty, trading standards team leader, said: “We all know that at this time of year many of us are thinking about Christmas, what needs done at home, what needs buying, and also what needs done at work before the holidays commence. It is a busy time and of course the scammers know this only too well.

"My advice would be to simply end the call without saying a word. If the reason is real any legitimate business will attempt to contact you in a different way. I would urge anyone who suspects a scam to contact trading standards or Police Scotland with what they know. And finally, please don’t attempt to outsmart a scammer on the phone, they are usually well trained, professional at what they do and will leave with something of yours.”

If you have been approached by or think you are the victim of a scam, report it to Police Scotland on 101, or trading standards on 01463 644570. You can also receive free and confidential advice by contacting Consumeradvice.scot, a dedicated consumer advice service to provide advice, assistance and information to people on a range of consumer issues and concerns. They can be contacted on 0808 164 6000 or alternatively by email at advice@consumeradvice.scot, or via webchat at www.consumeradvice.scot (external link) or on Facebook m.me/advice.scot.2

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