Looking for love, buying a new pet or shopping for diet pills? If so, it seems you may be at risk of being targeted by scammers.
More people than ever throughout Tayside are being hit by scammers who have one thing on their minds to get their hands on our hard-earned cash.
A shocking new report reveals tens of thousands of people in Dundee alone have been on the receiving end of nuisance calls aimed at tricking us into handing over our bank details.
But nuisance calls are only one of the scams currently doing the rounds. Scammers can target people in all sorts of ways via letter, internet, phone or even on their own doorsteps.
Among those affected are some of the most vulnerable members of the community but they can hit anyone at any time.
Ken Daly, Dundee’s trading standards manager, said there were rarely any radically new scams.
“Most are just a variation of those that we’ve seen in the past but perhaps with a new technical angle,” said Ken.
A recent pilot study revealed that call blocking by scammers has had an impact on 130,000 Dundee residents.
Ken explained that the telephone bank card scam has been an issue in the area.
“Here a caller claims to be from the victim’s bank and has spotted a fraudulent payment on their card.
“They will then be asked to ring back using the phone number on the back of the card. The criminal keeps the line open at their end, keeping the customer connected to the fraudster.”
He said folk were then asked to cancel their existing card or activate a placement by keying in their PIN number.
“Once the scammer has this they can access your account.”
Ken said that a worrying new trend connected to this was a scam that offered nuisance call blocker equipment.
“Ironically we have had some instances where people arecontacted with bogus offers to supply call blocker equipment.”
Scammers use various other ways to get to victims, including advertising websites.
It seems that people looking for love are easy targets, as are pet lovers looking to buy a new companion.
“We are still seeing pet related scams. With sellers on Gumtree, for example, advertised pets can be stolen, misdescribed or just not exist,” added Mr Daly.
“We currently have some that have a bogus delivery address in Dundee.
“Consumers need to be very careful when buying goods on selling sites and ensure that they follow the advice given.”
Ken said national statistics showed that “romance” fraudsters were becoming an ever increasing problem.
Recent figures show that the UK public has lost 34 million to romance scams.
“This is likely to be a growth area for us in Dundee, as people who have been scammed are more likely to be embarrassed and not come forward.”
He said diet scams were rife in Dundee with an increase in complaints and inquiries about “skinny pills” texts and emails.
“This is also the time of year when we advise people to be wary of itinerant traders offering to do property maintenance.
“In many cases this is unnecessary work and vastly overpriced.
“If you need work done get a trusted local trader.”