Slam door on the scammers
POLICE WARN THAT ARGYLL PEOPLE ARE BEING CONNED OUT OF THOUSANDS OF POUNDS EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK
SCAMS are on the rise and costing people in Argyll thousands of pounds every single day, say police officers in Oban.
Police constables, Danny MacBeth and Paul MacMillan, head up the Community Investigation Unit (CIU).
And in the past week alone they have assisted people from Oban and surrounding areas who have lost large sums of cash to fraudsters.
The scams are numerous, but in a bid to stamp out organised crime, the pro-active police officers have revealed important information on the way people from all walks of life are being cheated out of their hard- earned cash.
PC MacBeth said: ‘Scams have come along way since I started in the police service 20 years ago.
‘At one time we were investigating people charging tourists £1 to get into McCaig’s Tower.
‘But these days we are dealing with huge sums on a daily basis.’
While the officers can not reveal names, they can confirm they are investigating a number of scams at the moment. ‘People should know that if it looks too good to be true, then it is too good to be true,’ explained PC MacBeth.
In the past few weeks a number of particularly devious yet plausible scams have come to light.
In Oban, a woman who befriended a ‘ vulnerable man’ over many months, asked him to cash four cheques to another UK account.
Four American Express cheques arrived each for £2,500. The man transferred the money only to find out a few days later that his bank account had been suspended.
A male charity volunteer was caught out when a man took money from his bank account after gaining access to his computer. The scammer said he was sorting out problems with the machine.
Free selling websites can also be a source of problems.
One man in Oban paid £ 5,000 for a new trailer for his pick-up truck only to discover that he had been the victim of fraud when the trailer and the seller couldn’t be traced after he had deposited the money in the man’s account.
‘Countless’ people in the last few weeks have paid for work from people who turn up on their doorsteps.
These ‘ workmen’ turned out to be scamming the old and vulnerable out of cash for work that was described as ‘ very poor’ by trading standards.
PC MacBeth continued: ‘If it was me, I would trust the classified section in the Oban Times more than I would trust a random website.
‘There are people out there who want to take your money off you. It is organised crime - people are setting out to defraud you.’
PC MacMillan, who is described as an ‘online expert’, said he is always amazed at the many different ways the scammers use to take defraud people.
He added: ‘Sell and buy things in person and not online. It is by far the safer way to do things.
‘People need to be aware of the dangers. While many scams happen over the phone or the internet, things can happen in person as well.’
Discussing who is committing the crimes, PC MacMillan said: ‘In cases we deal with, the majority are from Asia or West Africa for internet fraud, but it can be anyone at any time.
‘Don’t get drawn into anything - take your time making decisions about parting with your bank information.
‘Doorstep salesman should be refused unless you have good references about their work. People can be very pushy and aggressive on the doorstep.
‘Just say no, close the door and call the police or trading standards if you need assistance.’
He added: ‘Never give your bank information out to anyone.
‘If your bank phones you, phone them back on the number you have rather than the one the caller gives you - or go into your local branch.’
HANG UP: never give out bank information over the phone, no matter how pushy the caller is