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Ross-shire business urged to be alert as 'ringing the changes' scam flagged by police

By Hector MacKenzie

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A CONMAN is believed to have swindled small businesses out of hundreds of pounds in the north in a matter of days, police said.

Police are now warning businesses and cashiers to be on the lookout for the scam.

Between Monday and Thursday of last week, a number of stores have been targeted by a man who asks for larger notes for his smaller denomination notes then cancels the transaction but only hands back some of the money – without the cashier realising.

The con has only been discovered after he has left the store, police said.

A number of stores, a supermarket and in-store post offices have been targeted. Police say the scam has been deployed in Beauly, Elgin, Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Fort William.

Detective Constable John Pinder, Fraserburgh CID proactive, said: "This is what's called a ‘ringing the changes' scam and it involves a person requesting that large notes be changed into smaller notes then changing their mind or distracting the cashier to get back more money than they gave, or take money without the cashier noticing.

"We are urging shopkeepers to be extra vigilant if you are asked to change large sums of money by a member of the public. If it's within store policy to do so, we'd advise calling a colleague or supervisor over to double-check this.

"We're also asking anyone with information about these incidents, who maybe had this happen or an attempt at it but who have not yet advised police, to call us."

Officers at Fraserburgh Police Station can be contacted via 101 quoting reference number 3442 of July 21.

Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

News from Ross-shire

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