The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Residents warned to be on their guard after phone scam

Elderly fall prey to criminals who demand iTunes vouchers for ‘costs’

- Paul reoch

Police are warning residents to be on their guard after people in Perthshire were caught up in criminals’ fraud schemes.

A 67-year-old Blairgowri­e woman is the latest person to fall victim to the crime, which involved fraudsters purporting to be from a payment protection insurance (PPI) firm.

The woman was told she was due a PPI refund but would need to purchase £210 of iTunes vouchers to cover travel costs for the caller to hand the money over in person.

This followed an 84-year-old Perth man falling victim to another fraudulent scheme earlier this month, whereby he lost £1,000 – again through a phone scam scheme, with the criminals claiming to be from HMRC.

Yesterday Chief Inspector Ian Scott, area commander for Perth and Kinross, alluded to the fact that there is an increasing “trend” of phone and online scams being carried out.

“We do have some influence on these but it’s down to a partnershi­p approach,” he said.

“However, it is difficult to trace the fraudsters as some of these criminals come from all over the country.”

A police spokespers­on added: “Officers would like to remind members of the public that fraudsters are extremely convincing in their approach, taking steps to engage with the victim and win their trust.

“We urge people to be aware of calls and contact of this nature, and in particular to ensure their elderly or vulnerable family, friends and neighbours are also aware of this type of scam and to be on their guard.

“Always be alert if you are contacted on the telephone by anyone claiming to be from your bank, or indeed any other company such as an electricit­y supplier, or other well-known organisati­on.

“In particular, be suspicious and don’t disclose any informatio­n if the call involves transferri­ng money, or if anyone asks you to provide or confirm your bank details. Reputable business or organisati­ons would never request payment in the form of vouchers.”

Anyone with informatio­n on any of the phone scams should phone 101.

Officers would like to remind members of the public that fraudsters are extremely convincing in their approach...

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