Scots have been warned of a ‘sinister’ new scam where fraudsters pretend to be from Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
People are being contacted by ‘bots’ which spoof what seems to be an official phone number and demand outstanding payments on fines in a bid to secure personal financial information from people.
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service has said it does not proactively call people threatening action over National Insurance, unpaid fines or debts.
Cases have been reported through Scotland and not only Edinburgh locals.
Advice Direct Scotland, which runs Scotland’s national consumer advice service consumeradvice.scot, has urged people in the city and across Scotland to remain vigilant and avoid supplying any personal information or payment details to people who call directly.
Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with Advice Direct Scotland, said:“In this instance, consumers are being contacted by ‘bots’ – interactive technology that can seem official, but can have more sinister and underhand objectives.
“If you are at all unsure, avoid pressing any buttons, and avoid requesting connection of the call to another party, as this can connect you to premium rate numbers, which can be costly.
“These scammers are reported to be calling from what seems to be the official number. Number spoofing occurs when scammers can use software to appear like it is the legitimate number when it is not.
“It is important to remain vigilant. Avoid supplying personal information or payment details to people calling you directly.
“In instances like this, it is best to contact the company or organisation that the person is claiming to be contacting you from using a number listed on official websites or through directory enquiries.
“By doing this, you can ensure that you are reaching out to these organisations on your own terms.”
Anyone who has been a victim of a scam or is concerned about suspicious activity can contact consumeradvice.scot advisers for free advice on 0808 164 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) or visit www.consumeradvice.scot.