Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith has backed a campaign to prevent Perthshire residents falling victim to Covid-19 online scams.

The politician, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, feels the scheme, rolled out by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), will provide valuable help to the public, particularly vulnerable members of the community.

The move comes after a recent survey by the TSB suggested that 42% of people believed they have been targeted by a scam email during the Covid-19 pandemic.

NCSC says criminals are increasingly using the virus outbreak as a means of scamming people. The Security Centre removed more than 2,000 scams related to Covid-19 in the past month, including over 450 fake online shops selling fraudulent items.

Commenting, Liz Smith said: “I fully back this scheme as it appears criminals are using the Covid-19 crisis as an opportune moment to try to scam people. This initiative will help residents in Perthshire as the Cyber Aware campaign offers advice and tips on how to protect passwords, accounts and devices.

“And a suspicious email reporting service will also allow people to forward possible scam emails to the centre for analysis.”

She continued: “Scamming unsuspecting residents, particularly elderly and vulnerable people, is a callous, cruel crime and it is despicable doing this during this crisis.

“I would encourage Perthshire residents to look at this scheme as it provides invaluable help. Any suspicious emails can be forwarded to, and NCSC’s automated programme will then test the validity of any further action that may be taken against the fraudsters.”