A new scam – this time by mail - is threatening to hit Islands businesses.
A letter and form from 'UK - Data Control Scotland Business' is being sent to businesses on the islands which give the impression there is an obligation on businesses to respond.
But if they did sign and return the forms, the small print includes the cost of an ‘advert’ which will exceed £2000.
A local business commented: "The letter looks very official – but it appears to be coming from Germany – a strange place for the UK-Data control to be based!"
A local accountant said: "I would consider this to be a scam, and that it should not be responded to."
The first sheet of the three-page form is included below.
Earlier Trading Standards experts at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar had warned warning local businesses over the scam letter. They stated:
"The letter is headed “Missing information about your VAT registration Number” and is designed to look official. The correspondence includes a form for the business to sign, in order to verify that their details are correct and to then return to an address in Hamburg. The letter also contains a deadline for the submission of the information.
"The small print states that by responding to verify their VAT registration number, businesses will be agreeing to a charge of £790 a year, for a minimum of 3 years, for entry on to the publishers website."
Trading Standards Officers originally issued a warning about this scam in March 2015 but are concerned that local traders may have already signed and returned the forms and may now be receiving demands for payment. For further advice please contact CnES Trading Standards on 01851 822694