Highland Council has issued a warning after scammers attempted to sell tickets to a cancelled festive event.
Opportunists, possibly in North America, have jumped onto a social media events site to try and scam Invernessians over the Highland capital’s annual Winter Wonderland event.
The Whin Park event has long been cancelled due to Covid concerns.
Highland Council’s trading standards team said it was aware that an unauthorised third-party was falsely promoting that the event will go ahead as initially planned, this Saturday, and that they were attempting to market and sell tickets for the event.
Trading standards manager David MacKenzie said: “For reasons we haven’t quite got to the bottom of, someone, not from the council, is promoting this through a Facebook page.
“But what has apparently happened is that people, not local, probably from America, have posted on the page saying things along the lines of, there’s been a death in the family and we can’t go and we need to sell the tickets at a discounted price.
“My guess is that this is just scammers probably doing this all over the place, just picking up on events all over the world and trying their luck at trying to scam people.
“They try it hundreds of times, get a handful of victims, and they’ve made money.”
The trading standards team has reported the incident to Facebook.
Mr MacKenzie said: “Facebook have acted to make it that you can’t post on that site, and saying the event has been cancelled so there shouldn’t be the opportunity for people to be scammed in relation to this event.
“As far as we’re aware nobody’s lost out, and we’ve only had a couple of enquiries about it.
“We’re not quite sure who has posted the event, whether it’s people who are involved in the scam or not, we presume not because they say the event is free.”
Trading Standards feel they have done what they can to resolve the situation, but urge anyone who has been scammed to get in touch with them.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “As the Winter Wonderland event will not be taking place this year, the public are advised not to purchase any tickets which are being marketed for sale via social media.
“Those who have inadvertently purchased tickets from the unauthorised group for this cancelled event should report this transaction to the police or Highland Council’s Trading Standards Team.”
The team can be contacted by email at email@example.com