Police Scotland have issued advice to help people avoid becoming the victim of fraud this festive period.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.

Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Police Scotland.

To help everyone stay safe from fraud we have some helpful advice for both individuals and businesses:

Some criminals are using the pandemic as an opportunity to trick people into parting with their money or information.

In some cases people are urged to “take advantage of the financial downturn”, using emails and social media platforms to advertise fake investment opportunities in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Others include criminals offering their assistance with Universal Credit applications, while taking some of the payment as a fee for their “services”.

It’s important to remember that criminals are experts at impersonation, using official branding and language used by trusted organisations and government departments to convince you their emails are genuine. These may include offering you or your business a government grant or a reduction in your council tax with links contained leading to fake websites designed to obtain your personal and financial information.