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Why you need to be on guard over today's Emergency Alert System test

By Gavin Musgrove

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Scammers could try and take advantage of today's emergency contact alert.
Scammers could try and take advantage of today's emergency contact alert.

Highlanders have been warned about potential scams by those seeking to exploit the Emergency Alert System test.

Advice Direct Scotland said people should be wary of requests from anyone claiming to be connected to the alerts system asking for remote access to mobile phones or other devices.

The charity, which runs the national consumer advice service consumeradvice.scot, also stressed that any requests for personal or financial information through text message, email, or by telephone claiming to be related to testing activity would be bogus.

A UK-wide Emergency Alert System is due to be tested later today at 3pm

The service will be used to contact people with advice on how to stay safe in the event that there is a threat to life.

It may be triggered by public health emergencies, severe floods and other extreme weather, fires, or industrial accidents.

In these events, emergency warnings would be sent to all compatible 4G and 5G mobile phones when there is a risk to life, health, or property in the area in which the recipient is located.

The alert is a loud, siren-like sound, and will include an on-screen message informing the recipient of how they should respond.

Today weekend’s alert will be a test, and people can swipe away the message or click their home screen to continue using their phone as normal.

Lyndsay McFee, team lead at consumeradvice.scot, said: “For the activity today, you will receive a notification saying that there is a test taking place which will pop up on your screen and can be swiped away like any other alert.

“The system does not track your location, require your phone number to be entered, or collect any of your personal data.

“Scammers often reach out through text message, email, or by phone call to request what may seem like insignificant information.

"However, these tactics can be used to gather our data to use against us later.

“If you receive a request from someone claiming to be contacting you in relation to the alerts, you can report this using the Quick Reporting Tool at scamwatch.scot, or alternatively by contacting the team at consumeradvice.scot.”

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