The number of people in the Lothians falling victim to scammers has increased.
A helpline set up by Citizen’s Advice Scotland recorded almost 220 complaints from the Lothians last year.
Throughout the country it saw calls for help up by 14 per cent over the previous year.
The highest number of complaints, ranging from “love scams” on dating sites to those related to websites pretending to be official government sites or banks, were received from Edinburgh – 117 in total.
In West Lothian, 47 callers made complaints and 26 and 24 were received from East Lothian and Midlothian respectively.
In response to the rise in complaints, CAS has published a new guide to give the public advice on how to stop themselves falling victim to scams.
The report’s findings showed that scams are more prevalent through online channels, with 64 per cent of all emails now being classed as spam.
CAS has warned that people are being tricked into sending large amounts of money to potential suitors they have met online – often to “help out” ill family members invented by the scammer, or to fund a fictitious trip to meet in person.
It also showed that the most common age group of people who are falling victim to scams fall into the 31-40 age group.
Susan McPhee, head of policy at CAS Scotland, said: “It’s very sad that there are so many people out there who are keen to exploit people’s trust and relieve us of our hard-earned money through deceit and trickery. Even if you haven’t actually been the victim of a scam yourself, you should still report any you know about, so that we can help protect people from it and maybe bring the perpetrators to justice.”
She added: “If someone took money out of your pocket you would report it to the police.