Owners of missing pets in Perth and Kinross have been targeted by scammers.
The swindle, which has been reported to Perth and Kinross trading standards, involves criminals contacting people whose animals have been reported missing.
Claiming to work for a vet, the pet owner is told the animal has been found but requires immediate emergency treatment, which will need to be paid for upfront.
Owners worried for their pets’ health might hand over the cash, only to later learn their animal had never been found in the first place.
Advice Direct Scotland, which runs the national consumeradvice.scot service, has issued guidance to those who may be targeted.
‘Contact the vet that the scammer is claiming to be calling from’
Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for consumeradvice.scot, said: “Scammers can be very convincing in their approach, and it is despicable that these individuals are taking advantage of people at a vulnerable time.
“It’s important that you don’t share any of your personal or banking information with people contacting you out of the blue like this.
“Contact the vet that the scammer is claiming to be calling from using the official number from the vet’s website, or phone number officially listed for them online, or with directory enquiries.
“Scots consumers can report suspected scams and suspicious activity using the quick reporting tool, or alternatively contact one of our specialist consumer advisers for free, impartial and practical advice.”
What to do if you think you are being scammed
- Remain calm – hang up if you are at all unsure
- Don’t share personal information
- Don’t share banking or payment information
- Contact the official party using listed numbers – check online, or with directory enquiries and contact using these details
- Report suspected scams at scamwatch.scot – you might be able to help others