‘Phone scam warning

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TAYSIDE Police is asking people to be on their guard after recent reports of ‘phone scams involving people claiming to be calling from the Ministry of Justice.

In one incident, a woman in Arbroath received a telephone call from a woman who claimed to be from the Ministry of Justice in London. The caller, who had what is described as an Indian accent, stated the woman was due a four-figure sum of money but to receive it, she would have to go to her nearest Co-Op and make a payment to her organisation using Ukash.

Fortunately, the woman was immediately suspicious, recognised the call for the scam that it was and hung up before contacting the police.

Ukash is an electronic payment system that allows the user to carry out online transactions without using payment cards. Users pay for the voucher at convenience stores or retailers using the PayPoint/Epay/Payzone facilities. Vouchers can be spent online where Ukash is accepted. All that is required is the voucher’s digit code.

Ukash provide the following advice on their website –

* Do not send Ukash to anyone cold calling you. This is a fraud and you will lose your money. Only spend Ukash online and at genuine merchants listed at www.ukash.com/spend.

* Never e-mail vouchers or give voucher codes in full or part by e-mail or over the phone to anyone as you will lose your money.

A Tayside Police spokeswoman said: “While it is common practice to carry out transactions over the ‘phone, we would advise people not to share financial details with a cold caller.

“Personal information should not be shared in such circumstances either – including simple information such as when you may or may not be at home. Such callers may be very convincing, but householders must keep in mind the fact that the person at the other end of the line has put time and effort into rehearsing their lines with the hope of catching them out.”

She went on: “Be suspicious of all such calls and always make every effort to ensure that the person at end of the line is who they claim to be, represent who they claim to represent and are legitimate and reputable.

“If you are unsure, take details of their company so you can check their credentials. You can even take a number with a view to checking out their details and calling the company they say they are from at a later time using a number you have obtained independently.

“Above all else if you have concerns of suspicions hang up and contact the police on 0300 111 2222.”

Action Fraud provides a great deal of advice in relation to all types of fraud and advice about how to avoid becoming a victim of the fraudster. For further information see – www.actionfraud.org.uk