Aberdeen City Council's Trading Standards department have released a copy of the letter which was received by a clever member of the public who was quick to decipher its illegitimacy and informed the local authority.
The team at Aberdeen City Council's Trading Standards are wanting to warn Aberdeen's citizens to not contact any of the telephone numbers, postal addresses or emails featured on the letter but to contact Police. Furthermore it has been advised the receiver of the letter, or any similar correspondence, are to contact Advice Direct Scotland who liaise directly with Aberdeen City Council's Trading Standards department - doing so would help speed up the investigation going forward. Contact details will be mentioned at the footer of this article.
This scam is not isolated to Aberdeen, Trading Standards believe this crime is occuring all across Britain.
The usual ways to detect if documents you are sent are fraudulent.
- Check the grammar: Scammers are notorious for bad spelling and poor usage of punctuation. Mainly because they operate overseas and, normally, English is not their first language.
- Company name: Does the logo or branding look familiar? If not then do a business search on reputable websites to see if the company exists. Do not visit the website mentioned on the letter/email - it is highly likely that will plague your device with a virus to garner bank details.
- Expectancy: Were you expecting any letters/emails/telephone calls? Scammers will, generally contact you out-of-the-blue.
- Personal details: Does the letter/email require you to share your personal details either over-the-phone/in an email/letter. Genuine companies will not ask you, directly, for such information.
- Urgency: Does the document require 'immediate action'. Genuine companies are not allowed to pressurise anyone to sign-up for anything there and then. Legitimate companies will happily give you some breathing space to think things over. Scammers are only after money, the sooner they get it the better for them. They will not want to wait around - the longer they do, the more likely they will be tracked by the authorities. If you are telephoned and the automated system requires you to "press 1" to speak to an operator. Do not press any numbers. It is likely you will be unwittingly agreeing to a reverse call and you will be charged for premium rate numbers - another way scammers can get your money.
- Contact details: The pseudo-company's postal and email address, do they seem a bit odd? Scammers will likely use a PO Box address or premium rate numbers. If the address does not feature on the likes of Google Maps or BING (other map sites are available) then the likelihood is - the address will be fake. PO Boxes can be used by multiple people/groups. Just because it says "Joe Bloggs LTD. PO BOX 123. AB12 3CD" doesn't mean PO Box 123 will only be used by "Joe Bloggs LTD".
- If what they're offering seems too good to be true, 99.99% of the time - it usually is.
Advice Direct Scotland:
Please visit: Advice.Scot
HELPLINE: 08 08 800 90 60
Please visit: Scotland.Police.UK