Moray Council’s trading standards service has issued a New Year reminder to people to be on their guard against scams.
It follows a marked rise in the number of scams reported to them by consumers during 2016.
In one recent case a victim lost a sizeable five-figure sum after being contacted by a scammer purporting to be from their bank’s security department.
The scammer told the consumer that there appeared to be suspicious activity on their account and that the consumer should move their money to a different account.
Another common scam encountered during 2016 involved crooks persuading people to allow remote access to their computer, leaving them vulnerable to computer malware that steals confidential information such as log-ins and passwords.
Trading standards officers in Moray have also seen an increase in scams involving money transfers using services such as Western Union and MoneyGram. While these services have legitimate uses, payment by money transfer is like handing over cash and the person receiving the money can be very difficult to trace.
It was only the quick thinking of a member of staff at an Elgin travel agent that saved one potential victim from losing thousands of pounds. The person had gone to the travel agent to transfer money after becoming friendly with a potential suitor on a well-known dating website who subsequently asked for money to be sent abroad. The member of staff immediately realised this was a scam and advised the customer to make contact with trading standards.
Payment by direct funds transfer, such as Faster Payments, is another high risk area for consumers and trading standards has seen consumers lose money to fraudulent websites taking money by direct transfer rather than the usual credit or debit card method.
Again, payment by direct transfer is like handing over cash and once you press the button, the money is gone. Trading standards advise against using direct payments because it does not provide any protection.
Moray Council’s trading standards team backs the Take Five initiative – www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk - to stop fraud:
- Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full banking password
- Don’t assume an e-mail, text or phone call is authentic
- Don’t be rushed – a genuine organisation won’t mind waiting
- Listen to your instincts – you know if something doesn’t feel right
- Stay in control – don’t panic and make a decision you will regret
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 95,510 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.