SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has reiterated a warning that ‘scammers’ have picked up their activity recently and are currently targeting Scottish businesses.
One common scam that many businesses fall for is the “European City Guide”, where small businesses are fooled into signing contracts for inclusion non-existent ‘city guides’, resulting in losses of hundreds or thousands of pounds following hyper-inflated ‘advertising’ bills.
The fraudsters eventually menace victims with legal action and some businesses will pay up to be rid of them. If the police close in, the fraudulent companies simply disappear and relocate to another location.
Mr Smith has seen many cases of Scots businesses being taken in by the scam over the years despite repeated warnings.
The SNP MEP said: “The ‘European City Guide’ scam has been plaguing Scots, and other EU businesses for years now but I still see too many Scots companies being caught out. Time and time again I receive emails and letters from folk who have been taken in by these scammers, who write to me subsequently wondering what they can do to stop the barrage of correspondence threatening legal action if they don’t pay up.
“I am pleased to see the Commission taking steps to counter these types of scams, but for those who have already been caught out, it is too little, too late. That being said, I cannot criticise any efforts being made to avoid even more people having to deal with the stress of being hooked by this scam, so this online database will help Scots consumers in the long run.
“The best advice remains to avoid being caught out at all, so for the sake of one minute, run a quick internet search of the name of the company and if there are any mentions of scams then be very, very careful what you sign. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”