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Police are urging people in Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands to remain vigilant regarding online and telephone scams after a marked increase in fraud-related crimes in the area.
Common themes and preventions include:
- False listings for boat engines and farming equipment listed on eBay or Facebook, where the money is exchanged and then no product received.
- How can you prevent this? Use recognised registered retailers; do not exchange money until you are physically in possession of the item or face-to-face; especially with high value items, physically see it before you buy it.
- Emails and text messages purporting to be from a service provider such as your bank or internet company requiring you to input personal details or click on a hyperlink.
- How can you ensure this is true? Do not respond to the message or click any links; go through the company’s own website and only phone using the numbers detailed there; check whether they have sent the correspondence.; consider upgrading your security software on any devices you own.
- Cold calling by companies, either at your door in person or via telephone. Responsible companies avoid doing this.
- The advice is clear: never buy from or pass your personal or financial details to a cold caller.
- Financial service providers, advertising on social media, offering high value returns for investments in shares or cryptocurrency.
- How can you check if they’re reliable? Check the company with the Financial Conduct Authority; if a deal is too good to be true, it usually is; reputable firms don’t cold call, pressure sell, use ‘mobile numbers’ or offer heightened investment returns beyond the ability of trusted businesses.
Sergeant Matthew Shaw of Lochgilphead Police Station said: ‘I would urge people to be cautious and not trust any unexpected correspondence. Never pass your financial or personal details to anyone unless you are 100 per cent sure who they are and why they require that information.
‘If you feel the need to reply to check the authenticity of a contact, please only use the company’s verified official website and the communication methods detailed upon it.
‘Especially where financial fraud is concerned, always, ‘stop’, ‘think’ and ‘check’ with a friend, relative or neighbour before taking any action.
‘Any victims of such crimes, or anyone with any concerns can contact their local police station via 101.’