FRAUDSTERS are targeting people in the shielding category, the Scottish Government has warned.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said ministers were aware of incidents when a message was sent by someone pretending to be from the texting service asking for people’s personal information.

She said: “We are aware of two incidents where a message was sent by someone, pretending to be from the texting service, asking for people’s personal information.

“We are – of course – investigating this as a matter of urgency. But I wanted to take the opportunity today to remind everyone that the Scottish Government would never send a text message asking for sensitive personal information or banking details.

“So if you have signed up to the shielding text message service, and you receive a text asking for financial information or passwords, it is almost certainly a scam.

“Anyone who receives a suspicious text or call of this kind, can report it to Advice Direct Scotland. And if you are unfortunate enough to have been the victim of a scam, you should contact the police by dialling 101.”

“Sadly, instances like this are not unexpected. There will always be a small number of people who seek to exploit any situation they can to defraud people. But we will continue to do everything we can to prevent this from happening.”

The Cabinet Secretary also revealed that the 37 deaths and 969 positive tests due to Covid-19 were recorded in the past 24 hours.

It brings the death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 3676.

Meanwhile, the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions for Christmas – between December 23 and 27 – should be used only to relieve social isolation and not to have a big party, Scotland’s national clinical director has said.

Jason Leitch said the public health advice is to remain cautious, as he reminded Scots “the virus will not take Christmas off”.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday: “The four nations agreed that this is such a big deal, such a big holiday and celebration for the United Kingdom, that it was important to offer some kind of guidance so that people didn’t just do whatever they please and broke all the rules.

“We decided three households, five days and then we left the definition of that to the individual demographics.

“The public health advice is cautious, we want people to use it to relieve social isolation not to have a big Christmas party.

“Reserve the Christmas parties for after the vaccine, for after the pandemic.”

Scots are advised to have no more than eight people aged over 12 in any Christmas bubble they form, and these can only include one extended household.

Children under 12 will not be counted towards the total number of people permitted in any grouping.