EAST Renfrewshire’s trading standards team has issued a warning over a scam brought to attention by a council staff member.
The council employee received an email supposedly from a friend, stating that he was on holiday with his wife in Manila, and they had been mugged.
According to the email, the friend was stranded in the Philippines with no cash, credit cards or mobile phone, and — despite help from the embassy — the hotel wouldn’t let them leave until the bill was settled. The message appealed to the council worker for a loan.
However, the recipient was suspicious, contacted his friend and found him at home, unaware of the email.
Principal trading standards officer Steve Fox said: “You must ask yourself: is this really from your friend? Think when you last saw them. If it was a while ago, why are they feeling able to contact you now?
“If you were in trouble abroad, who would you contact? The obvious answer is family, not someone you haven’t heard from in ages. The British embassy or consulate provide emergency services when abroad and the holiday provider would assist in contacting your bank to transfer funds.”
The trading standards official added a warning about sharing details online, commenting: “Your email address is out there — how did these people get it?”
The team has issued advice to anyone who receives a similar email, including changing your email address, checking social network security and keeping a close eye on debit or credit card transactions.