Police in the Highlands are re-issuing advice and a reminder to the public to be vigilant following a spate of telephone scams.
A number of people have been targeted by fraudsters over the festive season following different scams used over the telephone.
In the majority of cases the criminals phone individuals claiming to be a representative from their bank and advise them that their bank account has been compromised. The victim is then encouraged to transfer their money into an account provided by the fraudster.
This type of fraud is commonly known as 'vishing' and while incidents are most commonly known to occur on the phone. This advice also applies to Internet security, where fraudsters will ask for an individual's details, purporting to represent a computer company because they have a virus on their home computer
Officers are urging people to be aware of calls and contact of this nature, and in particular to ensure their elderly or vulnerable family, friends and neighbours are also aware of this type of scam and to be on their guard.
Commenting on similar cases reported last year, Chief Inspector Iain MacLelland, North Highland Area Commander said:
"These are ruthless crimes which can have extremely sad outcomes for the people targeted. Over recent months we have seen victims defrauded of hundreds, thousands and sadly on occasion tens of thousands of pounds. I cannot put a price on the significant impact this can have upon an individual who in some cases have lost their life savings.”
“We want to make sure that the people in our communities are kept safe and informed and I would urge you to take note of our advice on how to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. We continue to carry out work across the Highlands with the Safer Highlander initiative to educate communities on this crime type. Local banks have also been very supportive in taking action where they believe fraudulent transactions are taking place.”
"Please always be on your guard if you are contacted on the telephone by anyone claiming to be from your bank, or indeed any other company such as an electricity supplier, and especially if the call involves transferring money, providing or confirming your bank details.”
“I cannot emphasise enough, if you have the slightest doubt, attend your bank in person. Do not provide your details over the telephone or the computer.”