Warning over fixed penalty scam in the north
Get a digital copy of the Courier and Groat delivered straight to your inbox every week
A WARNING has been issued about a fixed penalty notice scam which has been operating in the north.
A document – said to be from HM Courts and Tribunals Service – has been sent to members of the public. It looks official and gives a telephone number although it points out it is "temporarily unavailable."
One person, who contacted the paper but did not wish to be identified, said: "At first glance it does look real."
She contacted Police Scotland and Highland Council's trading standards department about what she described as "a scam."
The woman hopes that by warning the public she might help "save people a lot of money."
The documentation says a fee of £12.24 is liable for the use of a vehicle on a road where a charging scheme applies. It lists a date and time of the alleged offence and says: "If you do not respond before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date of service of this notice a charge certificate may be issued which would increase the penalty charge to £48.96.
"Failure to then pay the increased penalty charge may result in the outstanding balance being registered as a debt in the County Court.
"You have 14 days beginning with the date of service of this notice to pay the discounted penalty charge of £12.24. If this is not paid by 15/10/2020 then the full penalty charge of £24.48 is payable."
Mark McGinty, Highland Council's trading standards team leader, said: "This is what we believe to be a Phishing Scam, designed to trick the recipient of the text or email to respond and give personal or financial information that will be used to copy their identity and fraudulently take money from the person.
"The Penalty Charge Notice doesn’t give any details of the vehicle involved and it is the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service that would be sending such a notice not HM Courts and Tribunals Service, and in any case the notices are not served in this way."
He added: "I would urge any member of the public who receives such a notice to ignore it and delete it from the device that received it."