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The Pitlochry Neighbourhood Watch Warns Locals to ‘Shut Out Scammers’

Following a spate of scamming attempts in recent months, cold callers have recently targeted residents in Pitlochry with the aim of scamming hard working people from their money.

Pitlochry Neighbourhood Watch has issued a range of information and guidance to people in Pitlochry and around Highland Perthshire to stay well informed and keep ourselves and our money, safe.

A recent example from Trading Standards Scotland tells of an elderly South Lanarkshire woman who was visited by a cold caller who offered to clean her gutters claiming he had just completed similar work for a neighbour and could offer her the same service. Believing he was known in the area and worked for her neighbours, the woman allowed him to start work on the gutters however the rogue trader quickly left when the woman’s daughter arrived and asked him for identification.

Throughout the month of May, Trading Standards Scotland will partner with Police Scotland to run the ‘Shut Out Scammers’ campaign on social media.

The aim of the campaign is to highlight the frequent reporting of doorstep scams and provide information and advice on how to avoid falling victim to bogus calls.

Whilst scammers do take advantage of opportunities online or by phone, a common form of scamming could take place right on your doorstep.

Trading Standards Scotland said:

“The most common types of work that doorstep scammers carry out are roofing, driveways, gardening, and services such as gutter cleaning or pressure washing. They may tell you that:

  • They are offering a special deal on driveways/gardening/roofing/maintenance. The deal is only available today!
  • They have noticed that your roof or property exterior needs urgent repair work done to it – they are available to start work on it straight away and can offer you a good price.
  • They have just completed similar work at other houses in the local area.
  • They have building or gardening materials left over from another job and can offer them to you at a discount.”

A new report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has revealed that throughout 2020, instances of scamming increased fifteen-fold and in the last year the NCSC has removed over 700,000 online scams totalling 1.4million URLs.

As the pandemic gripped the country and we went into lockdown, scammers prepared various ways of separating us from our money and security. Thankfully, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was working to combat this with their Active Cyber Defence (ACD) efforts.

The aim of the ACD programme is to:

“Protect the majority of people in the UK from the majority of the harm caused by the majority of the cyber-attacks the majority of the time.”

It is vital that everyone is aware of the risks and methods scammers use to keep ourselves and our communities safe and be ‘Scam Aware’.

Please report all scams to Advice Direct Scotland (https://consumeradvice.scot/) on 0808 164 6000 or via their ScamWatch (https://scamwatch.consumeradvice.scot/) tool.

If you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Police Scotland on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

You can also follow Trading Standards Scotland online to stay up to date with information on the latest scams as they are reported by consumers around Scotland: https://twitter.com/TSScot

The full NCSC report on Active Cyber Defence is available at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/files/Active-Cyber-Defence-ACD-The-Fourth-Year.pdf

Photo Credit: Negative Space

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