Top scams in Scotland this year revealed

Want to read more?

At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall,

However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free. To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic.

The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.

We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Arran Banner – subscribe today for as little as 48 pence per week.

Already a subscriber?

 

Subscribe Now

Criminals exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic by targeting people and businesses in Scotland are among the most common scams recorded in 2020.

Scammers adopted unscrupulous new tactics such as telling people they had been in contact with someone with coronavirus and demanding their bank details to pay for a test.

Scams around illegal puppy farms were also reported during the year with an increase in people seeking to buy pets during lockdown, resulting in heart-breaking cases where puppies bought online were found to have serious illnesses.


Cold calls and texts purportedly from banks continued to be prevalent in 2020, with the most frequently reported scams claiming there had been a problem with a consumer’s account and requesting a transfer of money to a ‘safe’ account.

The Trading Standards Scotland ‘scam share’ reporting bulletin has listed the top ten scams of the year as: Covid scams; bank scams; HMRC scams; ‘phishing’ messages supposedly from companies such as Amazon; cloned and fake websites; business scams such as fake grants; cold callers; counterfeit goods; misleading energy marketing and the illegal puppy trade.

Advice Direct Scotland, which runs Scotland’s national consumer advice service consumeradvice.scot, recently launched a ‘ScamWatch’ tool to collect data on scams, which can be passed to Trading Standards teams and other authorities for investigation.

Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with Advice Direct Scotland, which runs consumeradvice.scot, said: ‘Over the past year, scammers have adapted to the coronavirus pandemic to prey on Scots. In what has been a tough year for everyone, it’s sickening unscrupulous fraudsters have made life even tougher for many Scots by exploiting a public health crisis.


‘It’s increasingly difficult to spot scams and there is absolutely no shame in being caught out, as the scammers’ tactics are very persuasive. As we enter 2021, we urge all Scots to remain scam aware and report any instances to us at Advice Direct Scotland so that we can help the authorities take action.’