Fraudsters posing as Edinburgh Sheriff Court officials in bid to scam money

A crime gang has been attempting to scam money from targeted victims under the guise of Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:30 pm

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Consumers have been advised to be alert as a ‘sinister’ new scam purporting to be from Edinburgh Sheriff Court circulates Scotland.

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service(SCTS) previously tweeted about fraud attempts in its name in September and a fresh warning was issued by consumer protection body Advice Direct Scotland today.

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People are being contacted by ‘bots’ which spoof what seems to be an official phone number and demand outstanding payments on fines in a bid to secure personal financial information from people.

The SCTS has said it does not proactively call people threatening action over National Insurance, unpaid fines or debts.

Advice Direct Scotland, which runs Scotland’s national consumer advice service consumeradvice.scot, has urged people in the city and across Scotland to remain vigilant and avoid supplying any personal information or payment details to people who call directly. The scammers are not only targeting people who live in Edinburgh.

Scam warning: Marjorie Gibson of Advice Direct Scotland

Anyone who has been a victim of a scam or is concerned about suspicious activity can contact consumeradvice.scot advisers for free advice on 0808 164 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) or visit www.consumeradvice.scot.

Marjorie Gibson, head of operations with Advice Direct Scotland, said: “In this instance, consumers are being contacted by ‘bots’ – interactive technology that can seem official, but can have more sinister and underhand objectives.

“If you are at all unsure, avoid pressing any buttons, and avoid requesting connection of the call to another party, as this can connect you to premium rate numbers, which can be costly.

“These scammers are reported to be calling from what seems to be the official number. Number spoofing occurs when scammers can use software to appear like it is the legitimate number when it is not.

Fraudsters are posing as officials from Edinburgh Sheriff Court

“It is important to remain vigilant. Avoid supplying personal information or payment details to people calling you directly.

“In instances like this, it is best to contact the company or organisation that the person is claiming to be contacting you from using a number listed on official websites or through directory enquiries.

“By doing this, you can ensure that you are reaching out to these organisations on your own terms.”

The Covid-19 lockdown sparked a fresh wave of online and telephone fraud crimes, with people being targeted by a string of fake organisations and companies. Many trusting OAPs have fallen prey to bogus bank officials and have been conned into transferring thousands of pounds out of their accounts.

In a statement, the SCTS said: “We have been informed that some members of the public have received scam emails and texts purporting to be about jury citation and requesting payment for excusal. SCTS does not issue jury citations by text or email and these should be ignored.

"We are also aware that a number of scam emails claiming to be from HM Courts and Tribunals Service for fixed penalty notices and parking charges have been received by people in Scotland. These have not been issued by Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. HMCTS deal with justice matters in England and Wales only.”

"If you have concerns about possible fraud, contact the police.”

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