CRIMES of fraud are now so "sophisticated" that they're becoming harder to combat, Fife's top cop has admitted.

Chief Superintendent of Fife, Derek McEwan, told councillors last week the force was "facing a challenge" due to ever evolving scams.

And Police Scotland are trying to keep ahead of cyber crime by introducing new technology and training staff.

In a report to the environmental and protective services committee, Mr McEwan said: "Fife communities continue to report a high volume of fraud, including credit/debit card frauds, online shopping frauds, bogus workman type offences, as well as phishing (internet/email scams which appear to come from a genuine source), vishing (via telephone), smishing (via text message) and twishing (via social media).”

And he added: “Fraud is, and has been for a number of years now, a significantly emerging crime and the methods in which frauds are now perpetrated are very sophisticated, that we are at times facing a challenge to keep one step ahead of the criminals who are able to change their modus operandi on a near daily basis.”

One of the committee praised the force for their attempts to warn the public about the cons but quizzed the chief on whether there was a "realistic" hope of taking action against the perpetrators.

Mr McEwan responded: "Yes I think there is, and we’re successful to a certain extent.

"Cyber crime is a very wide ranging type of crime – we have international gangs who target people for fraud or banking frauds.

"But we have localised groups who use cyber crime as well.

“So there is success in targeting groups to cyber crimes."

He continued: "There was a sad event a few years ago where a young man in Dunfermline was being targeted by cyber crime and took his own life through extortion, and that was an Indonesian gang.

"We brought people to task and brought them to justice.

“It is a challenge – the internet is a great thing, but it’s also a very simple device for criminals to use and protect their own identity.

"But we do have successes.”