Advice Direct Scotland is providing support and advice
Crimes of fraud in Scotland have increased by two-thirds over the past two years, sparking fresh calls for people to be vigilant.
With International Fraud Awareness Week underway, the latest official figures show a rise from 797 cases in September 2019 to 1,328 in September this year – up by 67%.
Although cases have remained at roughly the same level year-on year, fraud increased by 26% between 2019-20 and 2020-21, with the pandemic playing a significant role, including behavioural changes such as more online shopping.
Research published within the recent Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin estimated that 57% of fraud crimes recorded in 2020-21 were cyber-crimes, compared to 29% in 2019-20.
International Fraud Awareness Week encourages consumers and businesses to learn what fraud is, why it is important to stop it, red flags to look for and ways to prevent it.
Scotland’s national advice service, Advice Direct Scotland, provides free, impartial and practical advice to anyone in Scotland on fraud and scams.
Worried individuals and employers in Scotland can seek advice about any potential scams by making contact online or for free on 0808 164 6000, and the organisation has the authority to report instances to Trading Standards Scotland for investigation.
Criminal activity should always be reported to the police.
Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with Advice Direct Scotland, said: “Scammers exploited the Covid pandemic by preying on people and businesses, and that worrying trend has continued.
“With International Fraud Awareness Week underway, this is an opportune moment to urge everyone to be vigilant as scammers can sound very plausible and persuasive, and it can be easy to be taken in.
“Cybercrime is a growing concern, and it’s always important to check emails or online communications very carefully and always be wary of anyone asking for personal financial information.
“Our team is on hand to offer free, impartial and practical advice on what to look out for or what to do if you think you have been scammed, and any suspected criminal activity should be reported to Police Scotland.”