More than £300,000 has been stolen from victims in a banking scam involving fraudsters pretending to be police officers.
Police Scotland said that, since October, they have received more than 30 reports from members of the public, who have either been visited or contacted by individuals claiming to be officers.
On each occasion, the victim was phoned by someone claiming to be from a bank fraud department telling them their account had been compromised.
They were then asked to either transfer money remotely to another account online or go to a bank and remove cash, which would later be collected by a police officer.
Police said they are treating the scam with the “utmost seriousness” and are urging people to be vigilant as investigations continue.
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.
Please be mindful of this scam and always be suspicious of any unexpected contact
Superintendent Hilary Sloan
Superintendent Hilary Sloan, from the Partnerships, Prevention and Community Wellbeing Division, said: “While there are a number of ways police officers may look to contact you, please be mindful of this scam and always be suspicious of any unexpected contact.
“If you receive such a call, or visit, ask for the officer’s details and which department they work for. If the contact is by telephone, hang up and if possible use a different phone to contact the police service via 101, where you will speak to genuine members of Police Scotland and can request police officer verification.
“We began a national rollout 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.
“This rollout was started in October 2021 and all police officers should be able to provide this identification when carrying out legitimate police business.
“If you receive an email claiming to be from Police Scotland with a link to an external site to make a payment, this may also be fraudulent. Be aware of phishing scams and verify that any link provided is genuine.
“If you receive something claiming to be from us requesting any form of payment, contact us via 101 to investigate this matter before parting with your money.”
Police said that more than £300,000 has been defrauded from victims, and inquiries to identify those responsible are ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland via 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where anonymity can be maintained.
Ms Sloan said: “We are treating this ongoing scam with the utmost seriousness and have officers around the country pursuing various lines of inquiry.”
Areas affected include Prestwick, Ayr, Kilmarnock, Irvine, Motherwell, Blantyre, Dunblane, Linlithgow, Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Dumfries, North Berwick, Galashiels, Cupar, Forfar and Aberfeldy.