Fraud rises by two-thirds in Scotland during pandemic

Fraud rises by two-thirds in Scotland during pandemic

Crimes of fraud in Scotland have increased by two-thirds over the past two years, sparking fresh calls for people to be vigilant.

With International Fraud Awareness Week underway, the latest official figures show a rise from 797 cases in September 2019 to 1,328 in September this year – up by 67 per cent.

Although cases have remained at roughly the same level year-on year, fraud increased by 26 per cent between 2019-20 and 2020-21, with the pandemic playing a significant role, including behavioural changes such as more online shopping.

Research published within the recent Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin estimated that 57 per cent of fraud crimes recorded in 2020-21 were cyber-crimes, compared to 29 per cent in 2019-20.

International Fraud Awareness Week encourages consumers and businesses to learn what fraud is, why it is important to stop it, red flags to look for and ways to prevent it.

Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with Advice Direct Scotland, said: “Scammers exploited the Covid pandemic by preying on people and businesses, and that worrying trend has continued.

“With International Fraud Awareness Week underway, this is an opportune moment to urge everyone to be vigilant as scammers can sound very plausible and persuasive, and it can be easy to be taken in.

“Cybercrime is a growing concern, and it’s always important to check emails or online communications very carefully and always be wary of anyone asking for personal financial information.

“Our team is on hand to offer free, impartial and practical advice on what to look out for or what to do if you think you have been scammed, and any suspected criminal activity should be reported to Police Scotland.”

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