Police in Orkney are warning residents and businesses in the islands to be on their guard against online and telephone fraud. It is estimated that around £350,000 has been stolen from the county through online and telephone fraud since the start of 2018 alone.
Alistair Carmichael MP has joined police in urging people to watch out for the warning signs to protect themselves and others against fraud.
Commenting, Alistair Carmichael said: “This is good advice from the police and people should follow it. Many of the people who are most at risk are those who can least afford to lose any money. For years now governments have wrung their hands on the sidelines as scams and nuisance calls have got worse. A proper crack down is now long overdue. Older and more vulnerable people deserve and require protection from what is, after all, organised crime.”
Preventions and Interventions officer Constable Simon Hay said: "The unscrupulous individuals who commit crimes like this are well practiced and can be very convincing.
"They are capable of persuading people into doing things they never thought they would if they get a chance.
"We want people to be on their guard and to be aware of the warning signs.
"It is a well-known tactic for scammers to pretend to be representing a reputable organisation such as your bank, the HMRC or others.
"While these people can appear very convincing, these organisations would never cold call and you should never agree to any financial transaction or give out personal financial details over the phone or email.
"That could be directly over the phone or by another means, such as buying a high value quantity of iTunes vouchers and then giving the unique code to the caller.
"It is healthy to be sceptical of anyone who calls claiming to be from your bank, a business or another agency.
"A genuine caller will understand and not put pressure on you to do anything.
"Always double check numbers you are given to call back and ideally only return a call on a number you've sourced yourself on a different phone line.
"Better yet if it is an option then attend in person at a local branch rather than providing any details over a computer or phone.
"Additionally we're asking communities to look out for vulnerable members of society who could be contacted by unscrupulous individuals over the phone
"If you believe you have received a scam phone call or have been the victim of crime, report it to your local Trading Standards team by calling 01856 873535 or to Police Scotland by calling 101.
"Local police in Kirkwall can provide leaflets and other information providing further guidance on protecting yourself from scams."