INNOVATIVE strategies to tackle the growing number of scams around the Wee County are being explored by police, chiefs told council last week.

Chief Inspector Drew Sinclair, Police Scotland’s local area commander, told Clackmannanshire Council’s Partnership and Performance Committee last Thursday, May 30, about the various ways his officers are tackling the “growing trend” in acquisitive crime.

Flanked by Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, divisional commander for the Forth Valley, he explained scams are being driven by organised crime with a performance report tabled on the day adding that conmen target the most vulnerable in the community.

The document said: “Although there is no discernible pattern, members of the public have been contacting us on social media to inform us about the latest scam phone call or mail that they or their family members have been getting.”

Scams constantly evolve and can take various shapes, whether they come through the mail, on the phone or electronically in an email.

The Advertiser has also received information about and reported on a fair share of scams in recent years and one thing local officers do to combat this type of crime is raising awareness through social media and at local community councils as a preventative measure.

According to the report on the day, a Wee County officer from the safer communities team has been working closely with community carers who visit vulnerable people on a regular basis.

PC Mackie is hoping to equip them with the tools to highlight the latest scams and how they work so members of the community can spot when something is not quite right.

He is also looking at opportunities to work with the Royal Mail, empowering postmen and women to spot scam mail being sent to vulnerable people.

Local officers had, too, taken a fake ATM to supermarkets to educate customers on the tricks and devices employed by culprits.

The police is working with banks around the country as well, flagging up vulnerable people so employees are empowered to stop potential payments going to fraudsters.

CS McLoughlin told the chamber this already prevented some people losing money in the area.

At the meeting, Councillor Donald Balsillie asked about the “really prevalent” iTunes voucher scams.

These usually see criminals contact people in various ways, pretending to be working for a government agency, like HMRC.

They will demand a sum of money, for instance telling their target they had failed to pay a considerable amount of tax, and ask for it to be paid via iTunes vouchers, which can be used to purchase credit on an online store.

No genuine government body would make such demands, but conmen usually target the less tech savvy.

Officers have been working with supermarkets, however, with staff now carrying out vulnerability checks if anyone is looking to purchase vouchers worth more than £25.