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Scam warning issued after launch of Scottish coronavirus app

Age Scotland is warning older folk and the wider community to be aware of potential scams attempting to cash in on the coronavirus app.

This latest warning comes days after the launch of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus tracking app, Protect Scotland. Today, Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that cold callers have attempted to cash in on the crisis by telling people they need to pay for a COVID-19 test. She said they have been posing as contact tracers and trying to persuade people to divulge their bank details or other personal information on the phone.

Age Scotland believes that older people can be disproportionately at risk of scams and are especially likely to be targeted by COVID fraudsters. The charity is warning everyone to be aware and learn how to protect themselves and older relatives.

The charity has already worked with the Scottish Government to help ensure the contact tracing scheme is safe and secure and reduce the risk of scams.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: “It’s absolutely disgusting that anyone would try to use the Test and Protect scheme to exploit people and con them out of their money. However unfortunately there will always be heartless scammers who prey on the most vulnerable in our society.

“Not only are older people more at risk of serious illness from coronavirus and extremely anxious about it, but they are disproportionately likely to be targeted by fraudsters and fall victim to this type of crime. It’s all too easy for someone to let their defences down and be talked into paying for a test or divulging financial information.

“We’re grateful that the Scottish Government has taken on board our feedback in making the Test and Protect scheme as safe and secure as possible, with an option to call back if people suspect they are being scammed. We would urge everyone to be aware of how it works, and warn any older relatives to look out for scams.

“Genuine contact tracers will never ask for payment or any financial or confidential details. If you have any concerns, you can always hang up and call back on the official number (0800 030 8012), ideally from another phone or after waiting to make sure the line is clear.”

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