12 Scams of Christmas

This December, Trading Standards Scotland is running a 12 Scams of Christmas campaign to raise awareness of some of the most frequently reported scams in Scotland during 2021.

Throughout the year, scammers have continued to adapt to changing circumstances, with new scams related to COVID-19 vaccinations and passports emerging. There has also been a significant increase in scams related to energy efficiency measures, with cold callers offering misleading information about the availability of grants/funding.

Click on the scams below for more details and advice on avoiding similar scams.

Report all scams to Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or through their website.

Report suspicious behaviour in your community to Police Scotland on 101 or 999 in an emergency

Delivery Scams

Scam emails and texts which appear to have been sent by Royal Mail or other delivery companies and ask you to click on a link to rearrange a missed delivery or pay a shipping fee

HMRC Scams

Scam emails, texts and calls offering Government grants or tax refunds, often linked to the pandemic. This year there has been a rise in scam calls saying your NI number is going to be suspended

Energy Grants

Cold callers saying that you are eligible for a Government grant for a free boiler or other energy efficiency measures. Consumers are often asked to pay a ‘deposit’ or take out a loan

Doorstep Scams

Cold callers offering to carry our overpriced or unnecessary maintenance work such as roofing repairs or gardening. Other doorstep scammers pose as council workers or staff from utilities companies


Scam emails, texts and calls offering COVID-19 vaccines or vaccine passports for a fee. Most messages include links leading to scam websites with NHS branding which ask for personal/banking info

Bank Scams

Scam calls and text messages purportedly from your bank, which aim to obtain your bank account details or to persuade you to transfer money to a ‘safe’ account, usually run by a scammer

Phishing Messages

Scam messages and calls purportedly from large organisations such as streaming services, broadband providers, DVLA or TV Licensing, which try to obtain your account details

Puppy Fraud

Online adverts for puppies which have been illegally bred in poor conditions and may have serious health conditions. They often give misleading information about the pup’s age and vaccinations

Prize Draw Scams

Scam emails or social media ads which appear to be linked to big brands and offer prizes if you enter your details in a survey. Emails may say that you have already won a prize and ask for a small ‘admin fee’

Insulation Scams

Cold callers giving misleading information about the safety of your existing loft insulation, often without inspecting it. They may try to sell new spray foam insulation or offer ‘grants’ or ‘funding’

Remote Access

Cold callers posing as IT companies, broadband providers or banks to try to trick people into allowing them to access their
computer or other devices remotely

Warranty Scams

Cold callers providing misleading information about warranties and attempting to sell or upgrade consumers’ warranties for white goods and appliances such as TVs or SKY boxes