Trading standards team are urging Highland residents to stay vigilant in the face of a new telephone scam circulating in the region.
The scam is in the form of an automated phone call notifying recipients of issues with their National Insurance number.
The voice of the caller is said to be “quite intimidating” and using phrases such as “final warning”.
The recipient is then asked to press “1” to fix said problems or else face serious legal consequences.
If “1” is pressed, the recipient is then pressured into providing personal details in hope of receiving a new National Insurance number and to avoid legal proceedings.
The local authority has warned that once acquired, such personal details can be used for a range of illegal activities – including identity theft and financial fraud.
Trading Standards team leader Mark McGinty has urged people to be wary of giving out personal details to unfamiliar callers.
Scam calls are designed to scare and catch off guard
He said: “These types of scam calls are designed to scare you into giving away your personal information, they are designed to catch you off guard.
“The people behind these scam calls are well-trained, know what to say and can sound quite threatening.
“It is likely that they already know some information about you and need just that one last piece to complete their jigsaw.
“It needs to be made clear that you should never be pressured into giving out details and that if you have any doubts, just hang up the phone.
“If it is a legitimate call then the business can contact you by other means.”
To avoid a potential scam call, Highland residents are advised to always be wary of unfamiliar phone numbers and to hang up immediately if they are in any way suspicious.