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Trading Standards warns of lockdown telephone scams

An increased number of telephone scams have been reported during lockdown.

Orkney Islands Council’s Trading Standards team is urging local people to stay vigilant and report scams to them, as the national Shut Out Scammers campaign comes to an end today.

During the lockdown period, more people have been at home throughout the day and the trading standards team have said the number of telephone call scams reported to them has been significant. The most common scams reported have been:

  • Calls claiming a significant sum has been charged to the recipient’s bank account in a foreign transaction
  • Calls claiming to be from Amazon Prime advising subscription renewal payment is due

Scams have also been reported where genuine Orkney addresses are used on websites to advertise the sale of non-existent puppies with consumers on mainland UK being duped into transferring large sums of money for the purchase and transport of puppies claiming to be available on Orkney. Trading standards have said tracing the accounts used in the fraud generally leads to Africa.

Trading standards manager with OIC, Gary Foubister, said: “Thankfully the vast majority of scams reported to Trading Standards continue to be for information and to raise awareness, and not from consumers who have lost any money to the scammers.

“With the imminent hopeful relaxation of lockdown measures we would like to remind businesses, such as accommodation providers, to be wary of bogus booking requests that may start to be received. We are as always grateful to local residents for informing us of any scams doing the rounds and anyone wishing to report any scams can do so to OIC Trading Standards on 873535 or trading.standards@orkney.gov.uk or to Police Scotland on 101.”

The nationwide Shut out Scammers campaign was launched by Trading Standards Scotland and Police Scotland to combat a rise in doorstep scams during the COVID-19 pandemic

The campaign has run from June 15 to 26 and is supported by Advice Direct Scotland, Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

During the campaign, local Trading Standards teams have been raising awareness of doorstep crime, rogue trading scams and other forms of financial harm to which consumers, particularly the elderly, are susceptible.

The campaign aims to empower consumers rather than make them fearful and to encourage the reporting of doorstep crime.

Local advice and information is available here or by contacting the council’s Trading Standards team at email address trading.standards@orkney.gov.uk or phone 01856 873535.

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