On 13 June 2019, the First Minister announced a plan to create a Scams Prevention Strategy. Scams have an enormous cost, both to the individuals who suffer as a result of them, and to our wider economy.
This strategy will support people who have become a victim to a scam and offer guidance on how to report a scam, access further advice and support and protect themselves against the risk of becoming a victim of scams, as well as providing people with information on how spot scams. To succeed, the Scottish Government recognises the importance and value of working in close collaboration with a range of key partners across regulatory, advocacy, advice, industry and enforcement areas.
In Autumn 2019, an initial Scams Partnership Group was established, bringing together 29 stakeholders to share insights, knowledge and experience. The group met four times between October 2019 and January 2020 and a set of key priorities were identified for further consideration as part of the development of the strategy. These were provided as initial insights and ideas – as such they do not represent formal recommendations, or approved next steps. The priority areas suggested are as follows:
- to explore the value of a central point for consumers in Scotland to report scams, and receive feedback, advice and support. Benefits in terms of streamlining the consumer journey, and optimising intelligence to inform further prevention and intervention work have been cited
- set up a data group to assess current data and intelligence and how it can be used to prevent scams
- develop a more coordinated approach to scams awareness and education. Activities to explore include: a centralised calendar of campaigns; and a framework that supports both national and local priorities
As a result of the impacts of Covid-19, further meetings of the partnership group were postponed in March 2020 to allow partners to deliver the operational response to the pandemic.
We took an opportunity to have a stocktake and in light of feedback from partners, the previous Scams Prevention Partnership Group was repurposed and streamlined from 29 to 16 members to form a new Scams Prevention Strategy Partnership and Advisory Group. The development of the new strategy recommenced in late Summer 2020 with a clear aim to build on the positive collaboration and efforts demonstrated by partners during the immediate Covid-19 response period.
Three sub-working groups have been formed under the new Advisory Group to look at: data sharing and intelligence; improving access to advice and enabling people; and stakeholder coordination and sharing of good practice approaches
The remit of this new Advisory Group is to provide clear and robust recommendations to Ministers on actions to be taken forward under the new strategy. This work will be informed by and will build on the initial insights, suggested priorities for further consideration, and broader contributions made by the old partnership group (as summarised above) concerning what currently works well, or could be improved in the scams prevention landscape.
The group has three short life working groups:
- Advice Direct Scotland (ADS)
- Chartered Institute of Trading Standards
- Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) (observer status)
- Improvement Service
- Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
- Ofcom (observer status)
- Police Scotland
- NatWest Group
- Royal Mail
- Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC)
- Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS)
- Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation (SCVO)
- Trading Standards Scotland (TSS)
- Scottish Government YouGov Scams Survey: 2019
- Current activities of partners to tackle scams in Scotland 2021: factsheet
- Common types of scams: factsheet
- Scams Prevention Strategy Partnership and Advisory Group minutes: February 2021
- Scams Prevention Strategy Partnership and Advisory Group minutes: September 2020
- Scams Prevention Strategy Partnership and Advisory Group: terms of reference
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