Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Warning issued over rise in fraud crimes

- ROSS THOMSON

Crimes of fraud in Scotland have increased by twothirds over the past two years, sparking fresh calls for Monklands residents to be vigilant.

Released as part Internatio­nal Fraud Awareness Week, the latest official figures show a rise from 797 cases in September 2019 to 1328 in September this year – up by 67 per cent.

Although cases have remained at roughly the same level year-on year, fraud increased by 26 per cent between 2019/20 and 2020/21, with the pandemic playing a significan­t role, including behavioura­l changes such as more online shopping.

Research published within the recent Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin estimated that 57 per cent of fraud crimes recorded in 2020/21 were cyber-crimes, compared to 29 per cent in 2019/20.

Scotland’s national advice service, Advice Direct Scotland, provides free, impartial and practical advice to anyone in Scotland on fraud and scams.

Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with Advice Direct Scotland, said: “Scammers exploited the Covid pandemic by preying on people and businesses, and that worrying trend has continued.

“Internatio­nal Fraud Awareness Week was an opportune moment to urge everyone to be vigilant as scammers can sound very plausible and persuasive, and it can be easy to be taken in.

“Cybercrime is a growing concern, and it’s always important to check emails or online communicat­ions very carefully and always be wary of anyone asking for personal financial informatio­n.

“Our team is on hand to offer free, impartial and practical advice on what to look out for or what to do if you think you have been scammed, and any suspected criminal activity should be reported to Police Scotland.”

Worried individual­s and employers in Scotland can seek advice about any potential scams by contacting Consumer Advice Scotland or call for free on 0808 164 6000, and the organisati­on has the authority to report instances to Trading Standards Scotland for investigat­ion.

Criminal activity should always be reported to the police.

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Delivery scams are on the rise as con artists strike
Be careful Delivery scams are on the rise as con artists strike

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