Parents in Perth and Kinross are urged to be vigilant after a scammer impersonated two teachers in an attempt to earn large sums of money.
The scam is believed to have targeted a small number of local parents however the local authority has not confirmed which schools were involved.
This type of scam is known as ‘spear phishing’ where cyber criminals pose as a trusted source to convince victims to share personal information or cash.
Perth and Kinross Council is investigating the suspicious emails and has asked all schools to alert parents and carers.
In one of the emails – understood to have been sent to a local parent on Friday, November 19 – the scammer posed as a teacher from a Perth and Kinross school’s practical cookery department.
The email, sent from a private Outlook email, reads: “It is getting to that time of year again where a payment is needed for all practical cookery and health and food tech classes.
“We ask for a payment of £150. This money will go towards keeping the kitchens running, the purchasing of food, supplies and materials for the kitchens.
“We ask that this payment be sent in today as soon as possible.”
The scammer then asks for the payment to be made through PayPal, according to the email.
Parents of Perth High School were among those to receive an official warning email alerting them to the scam.
The school reassured parents that it would never ask for payments to be made this way, and instead ParentPay would be used alongside emails from corporate email addresses.
Further emails were also sent by the would-be scammer – this time applying more urgency in an attempt to convince parents.
A PE teacher was also impersonated where the culprit asked for payments as schools approach prelim season.
The school wrote: “The scammer impersonated two teachers who work at a local school in the relevant departments (though one of the names was mistaken).
“The links were also specific to the school, and the request was sent to parents at the school.
“We are not aware of this being a widespread scam, however as this involves large amount of money Perth High School is writing to parents to warn them of this scam.”
A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “We are investigating after a small number of parents received scam phishing emails claiming to be from two of our schools.
“As a precaution, we asked all of our schools to issue warnings about the scam and to alert parents and guardians to some of the tell-tale signs of phishing emails.
“Payments to our schools are made through the secure ParentPay.com website and we will never ask for payment through an email.
“Anyone who loses money through an email scam should contact the relevant authorities.
“Any parent or guardian who has a concern about an email or communication should contact their child’s school to confirm if it is genuine.”
Police Scotland were contacted for comment.