Police are asking people to be particularly vigilant of cold callers on the phone or on their doorstep.
Their advice is not to give out cash or personal information, especially bank details with the expectation of financial gain.
This week, The Extra learned of two different scams randomly targetting members of the same family.
One woman called the police after her elderly aunt, who is 80 years old and has advancing Alzheimer’s disease, was called and told she had won £3,600 in “compensation”.
The woman, who has asked not to be named, said her aunt was advised to buy “UK vouchers” amounting to £300 to cover “admin costs” and a man would deliver a £3,600 cheque.
The same woman’s son was recently contacted by so-called debt collection agents, demanding payment for an outstanding debt of £42.60 for an item he supposedly bought from an online shopping site.
“Thankfully, I was able to intercept both scams,” said Mrs B.
“Firstly, there are no such things as “UK vouchers” but the worrying thing is that the caller knew exactly where my aunt’s nearest shops were.
“And, as for my son’s online purchase, he just doesn’t by anything online, but the letter was so official and convincing that I’m sure some people would be pulled in.”
Police say the first incident has been logged as “attempted fraud” and enquiries are ongoing. A spokesman said: “Even if a scam couldn’t be carried out — as in the target was unable to purchase these so-called ‘UK vouchers’ — there is still the aspect of criminal intent.
“When a scam goes from preparation to perpetration, then there is the element of criminal intent that amounts to “attempted” fraud.
“The message remains, don’t give cash or personal details at the door or by telephone or online to strangers or cold callers.”
Scams come in all shapes and sizes and are often difficult for trusting people to detect.
Some purport to be overseas government officials. Others promise big lotto wins.