'Shocking' Scams Rise Report By CAS

There has been a "shocking'' rise in the number of Scots hit by scams from fake phone calls, online offers and doorstep callers, according to the Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

Between April and December last year there were 4,800 reports of scams and suspicious activity to CAS, up 11% on the same period from the previous year.

The charity believes part of the rise can be put down to an increase in awareness leading people to report activity but it is worried about the increase.

A CAS report on scamming found one man was conned out of £4,000 in an online dating sting, while others lost significant sums of money from fake passport and driving licence renewal websites.

Some people have contacted the charity for advice on how to stop scam mail being delivered to relations with dementia who have lost hundred of pounds.

Citizens Advice hope a new television series, Stopping Scotland's Scammers, starting this week will make people more aware of the method of scammers.

CAS spokesman Fraser Sutherland said: "It's shocking to think that so many Scots are facing this level of crime. The number of scam cases we saw last year was high, but this year it looks set to be even higher.

"In one sense this indicates that scam victims are coming forward and reporting it perhaps more than in the past, and that is of course a good thing.

"However, research has shown that only 5% of people who are hit by a scam are likely to report it, so that suggests we still have a huge amount of work to do to persuade people to keep coming forward.

"Hopefully, the new STV series will bring a renewed focus to this fight. We have been happy to work with the producers and we know that many other consumer agencies have too. It's a broad-fronted effort to encourage people to be more vigilant, and to report fraud when they experience it.

"If someone came up to you and took money from your pocket, you would report them to the police. So why shouldn't you do that if they try to steal your money online or over the phone or with a letter?

"Reporting a scam can help us stop it happening to someone else. We want everyone in Scotland to be a whistle-blower in the fight.''

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