An online chat tool to help consumers beat online scammers is being launched today in Scotland.
The new service, run by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), allows people to report online scams and seek advice on how to deal with them.
Online scams, often in the form of phishing, where a fraudster tries to obtain personal details by tricking the victim into believing they are genuine, are becoming increasingly sophisticated,
CAS chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “Of all the hundreds of thousands of cases the Scottish CAB network sees every year, some of the most distressing are those of people who have lost money to a scam. We have been working for years to try and help raise awareness of scams and to give people the information and support they need to fight back against them.
“This particular tool we are launching today is an online chat service that offers people advice specifically about online scams. We have found that many people feel embarrassed or not very confident about talking about their experience of scams, so we hope the option of doing it online will make it a bit easier."
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He added: “We want people to use the service to report scams they know about, to ask for advice and support if they have been scammed, or just to chat through how they can best avoid scams, what warning signs to look out for etc. People can still come into their local CAB to talk about these issues, but this chat service is just another option they can use.
“One thing we know is that scammers are not going to give up anytime soon, so we all need to work together to beat them. That means reporting them when we can and arming ourselves with whatever tools we can to make sure we don’t get hit by them.”
Earlier this year, a YouGov poll carried out on behalf of CAS found almost one in two Scots have been targeted by financial scams in the past year.
The new chat service is available here.