A new north-east anti-fraud roadshow has been launched by police after a rise in scams which have conned victims out of as much as £550,000.
Fraud has soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting Police Scotland to raise public awareness of the risks posed by fraudsters.
Now, officers have teamed up with Trading Standards officials from Aberdeen city, Aberdeenshire and Moray councils to share top tips on fraud prevention and safety advice.
Inspector Claire Smith said: “Fraudsters are targeting everyone in our communities, not only the elderly and vulnerable.”
She warned everyone is at risk from criminal schemes online, over the phone and even in person.
The roadshow launched outside Marischal College today and will tour the region throughout the summer.
Information stands will go up at garden centres, farmers’ markets and local businesses.
And people will be able to find out how to avoid becoming a victim and what to do if they’re targeted.
Sergeant David Williamson from the Cyber-Enabled Crime Team said: “Whilst pursuing the criminals who commit fraud and supporting victims of crime is a priority, the importance of preventing fraud from occurring in the first instance cannot be overstated.
“I would encourage anyone who can attend one of these events to do so.”
Devastating effects of fraud revealed
In March, a P&J Investigates series of stories revealed the devastating emotional and financial impact of online scams on north-east residents:
- How Aberdeen mum fell victim to Catfish romance fraudster she thought was her soulmate
- Aberdeenshire fisherman hit by £65,000 ‘Bill Gates’ fraud scam
- Aberdeenshire mum’s ordeal at hands of gang who used bank where she worked to swipe £6,500
- How Aberdeenshire man lost £75,000 in three months in Bitcoin fraud
- Aberdeen student reveals how he was blackmailed for cash by Filipino sextortion gang
Graeme Paton, Trading Standards manager at Aberdeen City Council, said: “Fraudsters will stop at nothing to part us from our hard-earned cash and their methods are continually evolving.
“These roadshows are an excellent opportunity to highlight their latest forms and the steps we can take to make sure we don’t fall for them.”
Vanessa Wilson, lead officer, Intervention and Preventions Team at Aberdeenshire Trading Standards, added: “The launch of the roadshow coincides with the creation of an Intervention & Preventions Team within Aberdeenshire Council Trading Standards service.
“The team has a wide remit which includes educating consumers and providing them with the knowledge, tools and confidence to identify scams, the fraudsters who perpetrate them and what action they can take if they are targeted.”
For all the latest court cases in Aberdeen and the latest crime and breaking incidents, join our new Facebook group.