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Do not be fooled by Scams

Scams come in a variety of guises, but some to be wary of are:

  • On-line and email scams.
  • Prize draw letters.
  • Scams directed at businesses.
  • Beneficiary scams.
  • Miracle health and slimming.
  • Faulty computer scams.

Details of these scams can be found below:

On-line and Email Scams

One of the most common of these is 'phishing' - the email appears to come from your bank, a company you regularly do business with, a Government Department or from your social networking site and directs you to a mocked up website that asks you to provide personal data such as account details, passwords and credit card numbers. The site is fake and your details can be used to commit identity fraud.

Prize Draw Letters

These claim that the recipient has won a large sum of money, often using the name of a foreign lottery. The letters frequently request that you send your personal information, and usually a fee in order to claim your prize – although some are more subtle and only ask for this at a later stage.

Scams Directed at Businesses

Businesses should be wary of offers for seemingly free advertising in directories. The true cost, which can be considerable, can be hidden away in the small print, and in some of these scams signatures are copied to fresh contract agreements.

Another common scam is where a business receives a phone call claiming that it had previously offered to sponsor a worthy cause, such as “drug awareness” books for schools, and a payment is now due.

Beneficiary Scams

These letters or emails often claim to come from an employee of an overseas bank which has a large sum of money to ‘offload’. The scenario is usually that a depositor has died leaving no will, thus presenting an opportunity for the employee to gain access to the fund with your assistance. Sometimes the letter claims that you have a family link with the ‘deceased’.

As with ‘phishing’ and prize draw scams, these are designed to get you to reveal your personal and bank details.

Miracle Health Cure and Slimming Products Scams

Some mailings offer miracle cures for various illnesses, and slimming products which guarantee amazing results. These are unlikely to have been properly tested or proven to be medically effective, and yet can come at a hefty price.

Gary Foubister, Trading Standards Manager said ”These are just some of the types of scams designed to con you into parting with your money. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!”

Faulty Computer Scams

The caller will falsely claim to be from Microsoft or Windows and request remote access to the consumers computer in order to address an alleged problem with the computer. The caller will either demand payment for allegedly repairing the computer or may corrupt the computer by installing viruses.

If you have been targeted by any of these or other scams, or if you would like any further information or advice, please contact:


Email: Trading Standards Service

Address: Development and Infrastructure, Orkney Islands Council, School Place, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY.

Telephone: 01856873535.

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