A victim of a ruthless online scammer has told how she lost £17,500 after falling for a fake payment demand.
The St Andrews woman said she had received a bogus email asking her for an online TV licence payment and, knowing it was due, paid almost immediately.
Three days later, the woman, who did not want to be named, received a call in the evening professing to be from her bank.
“They had all my details and used the exact same language and security checks as the bank,” she said.
“A London accent told me that both my bank accounts were in danger because I had paid my TV licence to a fraudulent site.”
She added: “He proceeded to take me through a series of security checks and accesses to my accounts, telling me that the money would have to be moved and the accounts made secure.
“He removed £17,500 from my accounts via online banking.”
The woman finally got a refund after a five-month battle involving the police, the bank the financial ombudsman and Action Fraud.
She has told her story as part of a national campaign aimed at stopping Scots from being caught out by online fraudsters.
The launch by Citizens Advice Scotland follows soaring numbers of scams and aims to tackle the stigma around reporting incidents.
It urges people to stop, report and talk about scams.
Fife SNP councillor Ross Vettraino, a SCAMbassador for the National Trading Standards, said: “Scammers depend on us staying silent.
“The more we talk about them, the more aware people become and the harder they will find it to scam the next person.”
He added: “The Citizens Advice network in Scotland helps and advocates for hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland.
“That’s why the theme of our campaign this year is stop, report, talk and that’s my message to people across Scotland.
“If we work together, we can beat the scammers. It’s time to do that.”
Information on how to stop scams is available on the Citizens Advice website on www.cas.org or from a local CAB office.
Anyone who thinks they have been caught out by scammers should not suffer in silence but report their concerns to Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000.