Telephone, text, post, email, and good old fashioned front door calls - scams really are everywhere. Like every other community throughout the country, Bute has fallen victim to fraudsters targeting the area on numerous occasions.
A letter of concern was received recently at The Buteman from a member of the public worried that despite regular alerts in our pages over recent months some of Bute’s vulnerable residents are still being taken in by scams.
We contacted Gordon Sutherland at Bute Advice centre to find out more about the problem and how people can spot a scam.
Mr Sutherland said: “There are two very important phrases which everyone should bear in mind. One, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, and two, there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
Scammers often contact their intended victim by telephone, post or email. While in the past fraudsters we more likely to target wealthier people, the scope has widened considerably in recent years and it is common now for elderly and vulnerable people to be duped into handing over money or divulging personal details which can result in money being stolen from their bank accounts or identity theft.
Mr Sutherland continued: “Many people fall victim to scams where they are repeatedly asked to send money, with the promise that they will receive a much bigger reward in return. The reward never comes however, but they continue to send more money, in the hope that they will eventually receive the jackpot.
“Always beware of sudden notifications that you have won money or prizes in a competition which you were not aware you had entered,” he added.
“They will often ask for an administration fee and perhaps your banking details. Don’t be fooled.”
A recent scam to hit the island was an offer of free cosmetics. To receive the free goods customers were required to pay for postage and packaging through a credit card, the details of which were then used by the firm to draw off substantial monthly payments from victims without their permission or knowledge.
Strathclyde Police state on their website: “If you receive bills or invoices for goods you have not ordered, collection letters for debt you have not accrued or there are transactions on your bank/credit card statements that you do not recognise, then you are at risk.
“Never give out your personal details when you’re contacted by phone, fax, post or email if you believe the request isn’t genuine.
“Always offer to ring back any suspicious callers.”