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Caithness residents should beware of latest phone scam

By David G Scott

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Highland Council Trading Standards advise Caithness residents to be aware of a current phone scam that is becoming more prevalent.

This scam is in the form of an automated phone call where the caller explains that there are issues with the recipient’s National Insurance number. The voice of the caller is quite intimidating, using phrases such as “final warning”. The caller states that if the recipient ignores their demands it could lead to serious legal consequences.

The recipient is advised to press “1” to fix the problems with their National Insurance number.

Beware of the latest phone scam doing the rounds.
Beware of the latest phone scam doing the rounds.

If “1” is pressed the recipient is then pressured into providing personal details in hope of receiving a new National Insurance number and to avoid legal proceedings. If the caller gathers the recipient’s personal information this can be used for illegal activities such as to clone an identity, and to attempt to cause financial harm.

Please be aware that it is not possible to change your National Insurance number and do not share your National Insurance number with anyone who does not need it.

The Highland Council Trading Standards offers this advice if you receive a scam call:

  • If you do not recognise the number or the call was unexpected be very wary.
  • Hang up immediately if you are suspicious.
  • NEVER give out any personal information.

If you are unsure, check first, the Highland Council Trading Standards Scams page contains useful information and can be found at www.highland.gov.uk/info/20000/trading_standards/900/covid-19_issues.

Trading Standards team leader Mark McGinty explains: “These types of scam calls are designed to scare you into giving away your personal information, they are designed to catch you off guard. The people behind these scam calls are well-trained, know what to say and can sound quite threatening.

"It is likely that they already know some information about you and need just that one last piece to complete their jigsaw. It needs to be made clear that you should never be pressured into giving out details and that if you have any doubts, just hang up the phone. If it is a legitimate call then the business can contact you by other means.”

If you think you are the victim of a scam please report it to Police Scotland on 101 or Trading Standards on 01463 644570.

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