£300,000 lost in scam involving people impersonating police officers
More than £300,000 has been lost by victims of a fraudulent banking scam involving people impersonating Police Scotland officers.
Police Scotland said it was treating the ongoing scam “with the utmost seriousness”.
Between October 2021 and January 2022, more than 30 reports were received from members of the public who had either been visited or contacted by individuals claiming to be Police Scotland officers.
On each occasion, the victim was contacted by telephone from someone claiming to be from a bank fraud department and advised that their bank account had been compromised, said Police Scotland.
They were then requested to either transfer money remotely to another account online or attend at a bank and remove cash, which would later be collected by a police officer.
Police Scotland said that while not every attempt to extort money was successful, those responsible defrauded a number of victims across Forth Valley, Fife, Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Tayside, Ayrshire and the Scottish Borders.
“More than £300,000 has been defrauded from victims and inquiries to identify those responsible are ongoing,” it added.
The force said it was now urging the public to remain vigilant and offering advice to stop people falling victim to this scam. It is also ‘leafleting’ across Scotland to help educate communities on how police will engage with the public in person, over the phone and online.
Superintendent Hilary Sloan from the Partnerships, Prevention and Community Wellbeing Division said: “We are treating this ongoing scam with the utmost seriousness and have officers around the country pursuing various lines of inquiry.”
She added that while there are a number of ways police officers may look to contact the public, people should be mindful of this scam and “always be suspicious of any unexpected contact”.
“We began a national roll-out of new identification cards, which feature an up-to-date picture of the officer, along with other key information and various security enhancements that make them extremely difficult to replicate,” said Supt Sloan.
“This roll-out was started in October 2021 and all police officers should be able to provide this identification when carrying out legitimate police business.”