Police warning for local businesses to be on guard following ‘Ringing the Changes’ scams

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Officers are urging businesses in the North East to be wary of suspicious activity and individuals following a number of distraction-type thefts known as ‘Ringing the Changes’ at the weekend.

Between Friday and Saturday (May 18 and 19, 2018) similar incidents occurred in the Fraserburgh, Insch and Strathdon areas whereby a group of two men and two women asked staff to exchange Scottish Bank notes for Bank of England notes, as well as asking for differing denominations.

‘Ringing the Changes’ type offences typically involve a person asking a member of staff to change a sum of money into notes of smaller denominations or an exchange of currency. They then deliberately distract or confuse the staff member in order to obtain more money than they started with.

PC Lauren Finlayson said: “We would like to speak to this group as part of our enquiries who are described as being Mediterranean in appearance, aged in their late 20’s and spoke in broken English. They are believed to be using a black Saab 93 motor car.”

She added: “All business owners and their staff should be alert and aware to this type of scam – in particular watch out for anyone asking for a large sum of money to be exchanged. The people who carry out such a scam are employing sleight of hand in the hope of leaving your premises with more money than they started with, and it is possible they will target a busy period which can provide an ideal opportunity to confuse or distract staff.

“It is always better to be safe than sorry so if you are in any doubt of a person’s intentions, consider asking another colleague for assistance or politely decline the request and notify the Police. Anyone with information or concerns should contact Police as soon as possible on 101.”