People have been warned to be on their guard as online fraudsters get ready for a summer of scams. According to a report by police, security and banking experts, conmen are set to target millions, focusing on holidays, tickets for major sporting and music events and unsolicited emails.
The warning comes from Police Scotland, the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The three organisations have released a new advice guide called the Little Book of Big Scams to help people avoid being fooled by the latest swindles. It warns about the 19 common scams to look out for and gives practical guidance on how to spot them and what to do if you or someone you know falls victim to one, according to HullLive.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie, of Police Scotland, said: “New scams are constantly emerging, so it is no wonder that we see businesses and individuals fall into a trap. Prevention and education are key, so this guide is packed full of practical advice. The impact can be emotional as well as financial, so I urge everyone to download and share the guide with family and friends, so they know what to do and who to call on if they become a victim of fraud this summer.”
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The top three scams come as people look to get out and about by booking breaks away or events following the coronavirus lockdowns:
Holiday fraud: Online scammers are exploiting this summer’s pressures on the travel industry, coupled with a desire for a sunshine break. The guide outlines the traps that consumers may fall into by booking accommodation and other travel services that do not exist, resulting in stressful financial repercussions.
Ticketing fraud : The guide advises that tickets should be bought from the official event promoter only, and to be aware of anyone asking to pay for tickets via bank transfer.
Scam mail: Victims can be enticed via post or emails by the thrill of an unbelievable offer or competition, typically targeting the elderly or vulnerable. The guide advises consumers to be wary about sharing their personal details and so-called prizes that do not require an entry.
Jude McCorry, chief executive of the SBRC, said: “The travel and tourism sectors are still recovering from the pandemic, evidenced by what we have seen recently with delays and cancellations due to staffing issues. Scammers seek to take advantage of would-be travellers who have been left high and dry and are seeking fast solutions. This guide gives people the tools to tackle these scammers head on and so lead to fewer fraud victims.”
Judith Cruickshank, regional managing director at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The research showed that scams are becoming much more prevalent, but many of us think we are savvy when it comes to online fraud. However scammers are using increasingly sophisticated measures to trick unsuspecting people.
“The Royal Bank of Scotland is dedicated to keeping customers’ money secure and offering people the support they need to help make themselves safer. By working together, we can help tackle online scams. The Little Book of Big Scams provides expert guidance on financial protection, identifying risks and finding solutions so that everyone is better prepared.”
Those who suspect they have fallen victim to a scam should contact their bank immediately on an official phone number. The guide, which is available to download on the SBRC’s website, also covers online and cash point fraud, door-to-door scams, and romance and dating fraud.