Non-mask wearing scam concern

Criminals are great at adjusting their nefarious activities to suit any given situation and we have all been well warned of the various scams doing the rounds during the coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic.

From emails with malware to gain your personal information, to reports of criminals knocking on front doors offering to do shopping for people self-isolating and scams for sought-after items like face masks and hand sanitizer they are many and varied, but fortunately the Islands has been able to avoid most of them.

However, local social media commentators have highlighted one possible scam doing the rounds. It takes the shape of a phone call with the scammer accusing people of not wearing face-masks.

In a Tweet earlier today (Thursday) an Island commentator, highlighted: “Scam phone call tonight at 11.25pm claiming to be a police officer at Stornoway Police Station with reports of me not wearing a mask! Very aggressive and pushy, threatening manner. Worried for elderly or vulnerable who might end up terrified by these things.”

When asked the Police said they had not received a complaint about the incident and so could not offer further information about the matter.

However, they did highlight the recent advice posted on their website about fraudsters and scammers.

It details: “Doorstep crime is a problem that continues to plague our communities’ year on year.

“These incidents can have a devastating and lasting effect on victims from disruption to their homes, or property and financial loss that impacts heavily on their emotional wellbeing and health.

“This is why we feel it is so important to run, a yearly ‘Shut Out Scammers’ campaign, in our effort to raise awareness and provide guidance on the matter of doorstep crime.

“This year’s campaigns titled ‘It is not easy to spot a rogue trader’ aims to highlight the signs to look out for when trying to identify a rogue trader or bogus caller at your door, and the support mechanisms available to help you do this.

“With the main message of the campaign being: It’s not easy to spot a rogue trader. They will often look genuine. They will look professional, have a branded van, a website, and business cards. They may even have their company listed on review sites, and appear to be endorsed by reputable trade associations. They may look authentic, but cowboy traders just want to scam you.”