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Publication - Factsheet

Current activities of partners to tackle scams in Scotland 2021: factsheet

Published: 18 Mar 2021

Information on some examples of current activities being delivered by partners aimed at tackling scams in Scotland.

Published:
18 Mar 2021
Current activities of partners to tackle scams in Scotland 2021: factsheet

The information below provides an overview of some of the most recognised, and/or recent interventions introduced by partners in Scotland that focus on tackling scams and their impacts. This list is not exhaustive.

For a more comprehensive list of examples of partner activities to tackle scams in Scotland please see the EKOS Preventative Spend Research 2018.

Organisation - Police Scotland 

Example interventions 

  • Shut out Scammers Campaign 
  • Stop Challenge and Protect Campaign 
  • the Police Scotland website offers an overview of common types of fraud and scams and how to avoid falling victim to them

Further details

Shut out Scammers is annual campaign to raise awareness and provide guidance on the matters of door steps crime. The 2020 campaign was titled “It is not easy to spot a rogue trader”.

The Stop Challenge and Protect campaign is a six-week campaign which launched September 2020, in partnership with Take Five to Stop Fraud. The aim is to help people protect themselves from fraud which has become one of the most commonly experience crimes in Scotland according to Police Scotland reports.

Organisation - Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)

Example interventions

  • Scam Ad Alert System

Further details

In June 2020, ASA launched a Scam Ad Alert system in partnership with major online ad and social media platforms, including Google and Facebook, to help tackle scam ads online. ASA launched the system because, while the overwhelming majority of ads responsibly inform and entertain their audience, some are published with criminal intent. Scam ads lead unsuspecting consumers to sites which fleece and leave them out of pocket. 

The system aims to complement and enhance the work already being done by digital advertising and social media platforms, and other regulatory bodies to tackle scam ads; and, more broadly, other fraudulent activity online.  

Organisation - Trading Standards Scotland

Example interventions

  • Shut out Scammers 2020 
  • Scam Share Bulletin 
  • National Consumer Week Scotland   

The Trading Standards Scotland website lists the most common email, phone, text and cyber scams reported by Scottish consumers with advice on how to avoid them.  The latest update on all scams is available on podcast which can be accessed from the Trading Standards Scotland website. 

Information about the latest scams can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Further details

Following an increase in the number of doorstep scams carried out in communities across Scotland during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Trading Standards Scotland and Police Scotland launched a nationwide Shut out Scammers Campaign. It is an annual campaign which raises awareness of doorstep scams as a result from rogue traders and cold callers. Trading Standards Scotland developed a range of resources which were distributed by many local authorities as part of their shielding packs. 

Free trueCall call blocking devices, funded by Scottish Government and Trading Standards Scotland were also made available to vulnerable individuals who are most at risk from scammers and rogue traders. The campaign was supported by Advice Direct Scotland, Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.   

The Scam Share Bulletin is a weekly bulletin detailing more information on specific types of scams reported by consumers across Scotland. The bulletin was developed following the increase in scams as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Consumers can sign up to receive the latest bulletin by email. The bulletin is distributed throughout Scotland via various networks and features in the Scottish Governments monthly Cyber Bulletin. 

National Consumer Week Scotland launched in November 2020 to encourage Scots to shop safely online. 

National Consumer Week operates across the UK and in Scotland it is led by Advice Direct Scotland and Trading Standards Scotland, with support of the Scottish Government. The campaign makes Scottish consumers aware of their rights when shopping online and advice on what to do it things go wrong.  It also provides advice to stay safe online to avoid being a victim of a scam. 

Organisation - Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Example interventions

  • ScamSmart 

The FCA website has a drop down menu listing common types of investment/pension scams and advice on how to protect yourself.   

The FCA advise anyone considering an investment opportunity to check the Warning List of firms, which is updated daily, and not to deal with a firm that is not authorised by the FCA.   

Further details

The ScamSmart Campaign is an all year campaign providing information on how to avoid investment and pension scams.  

The campaign also features information on “clone firms” which are fake firms set up by scammers using the name, address and FRN of real companies authorised by the FCA. 

Organisation - Ofcom

Example interventions

Ofcom is the regulator for communications services, broadband, home and mobile phone services and TV and radio. They also oversee the universal postal service – Royal Mail. 

The Ofcom website provides advice for consumers on scam calls and texts, silent and abandoned calls. 

Number Spoofing is where nuisance caller criminals deliberately change the Caller ID, a practice known as “spoofing”.

Ofcom are working with international regulators, as well as the telecoms industry to find a solution to the problem. 

Further details

Ofcom produce regular articles providing advice for consumers on coronavirus scam calls and texts.

  • scam text – what to look out for 
  • calls claiming to be from Ofcom 
  • official Government text alerts 
  • phishing scams related to government COVID-19 tracking app 
  • COVID-19 Vaccination scams 
  • what to do next 

Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a free service which enables consumers to opt out of receiving unsolicited calls for marketing purposes, maintained by Ofcom and enforcement by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

Organisation - UK Finance

Example Interventions

  • Banking Protocol 
  • Take Five to Stop Fraud Campaign - Stop, Challenge, Protect

The Economic Crime team within UK Finance is responsible for leading the industry’s fight against economic crime in the UK, including fraud, anti-money laundering, sanctions, anti-bribery, corruption and cyber crime.

Further details

UK Finance have introduced the Banking Protocol procedure between police and bank branches to prevent vulnerable people falling victim to fraud. Under the Banking Protocol scheme, branch staff are trained to detect the warning signs that someone is being scammed and make an emergency call to the police.  

The banking industry is now working with law enforcement to build on the success and expand the scheme to telephone and online banking. These proposal would deliver a police response to the homes of vulnerable victims who have attempted to make a payment via online or telephone banking that has been flagged as a potential scam. 

Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign is a national campaign that offers impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud. 

The campaign is led by UK Finance and is delivered through a range of partners in the UK Payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement, telecommunication providers, commercial, public and third sector organisations. 

Organisation - Telecoms Providers

Example interventions

How to stop nuisance of scam calls 

Telecoms providers provide prevention advice on their websites covering a range of different type of calls: 

  • marketing and sales calls 
  • scams calls 
  • malicious calls 
  • silent calls 
  • text calls 

Further details

Many telecoms providers provide advice on how to stop nuisance or scam calls. 

BT Call Protect is a free service that will send nuisance and unwanted calls to junk voicemail. It helps to stop the worst offending nuisance and scam calls as well as providing customers with the control to stop other unwanted calls.  

TalkTalk offer a free CallSafe, which checks to make sure it’s someone you want to hear from, the caller is then either, approved, blocked or screened. 

The Telephone Preference Service is a free opt out service enabling you to record your preference on the official register and not receive unsolicited sales and marketing calls. 

Many telecoms providers promote the telephone preference service.

Organisation - trueCall

Example interventions

  • Block Nuisance Calls 

The trueCall website provides advice on scams, market research and more

Further details

Truecall offer a range of devices to block nuisance calls. 

TrueCall describe the call blocker as being a home receptionist who lets calls from your family and friends straight through, blocks unwelcomes callers and ask unrecognised callers to identify themselves before it puts them through. 

The devices have been purchased by Trading Standards Scotland and Scottish Government and distributed throughout Scotland to the most vulnerable in society.

Organisation - Advice Direct Scotland (ADS)

Example interventions

  • ScamWatch Quick Reporting Tool
  • National Consumer Week
  • Consumeradvice.scot 
  • Knowledge Centre
  • Stop Scam Calls Campaign
  • www.brexitadvice.scot

The ADS Knowledge Centre also provides practical advice on scams, encouraging consumers to report scams or potential scams to organisations such as Trading Standards and Police Scotland to ensure that others are aware of scammers and their activities. The knowledge centre also includes advice on Brexit scams, 

Further details

The ScamWatch Quick Reporting Tool is available 24 hours to report suspected scams and suspicious activity. The information captured helps ADS with their work to protect people across the country from fraud and scams. 

ADS provide consumer advice services (consumeradvice.scot) in Scotland which offers practical and impartial advice on how to resolve a consumer problem. They inform consumers of consumer laws which may apply to a situation and also pass relevant information on to Trading Standards for further investigations. 

National Consumer Week Scotland launched in November 2020 to encourage Scots to shop safely online. 

National Consumer Week operates across the UK and in Scotland it is led by Advice Direct Scotland and Trading Standards Scotland, with support of the Scottish Government. The campaign makes Scottish consumers aware of their rights when shopping online and gives advice on what to do it things go wrong. It also provides advice to stay safe online to avoid being a victim of a scam.  

ADS provide consumer advice services (consumeradvice.scot) in Scotland which offers practical and impartial advice on how to resolve a consumer problem. They inform consumers of consumer laws which may apply to a situation and also pass relevant information on to Trading Standards for further investigations.

ADS recently launched a new campaign December 2020, Stop Scams Calls social media campaign which encourages consumers to take simple action to activate the call blocking services already provides by many telecoms providers, including BT, Sky and TalkTalk.

Organisation - Chartered Trading Standards Institute

Example interventions

CTSI represents trading standards professionals working in the UK and overseas - in local authorities, business and consumer sectors and central government. 

CTSI exists to: promote and protect the success of a modern vibrant economy, and safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of citizens by enhancing the professionalism of its members.   

Further details

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and its partners in the consumer protection landscape are sharing intelligence about scams. CTSI use the intelligence to warn the public about emerging threats and produce articles which cover advice on the latest scam activity, from doorstep to the telephone, to social media, text and email.  

They also produced information on the latest activity to combat COVID-19 scams, e.g. Businesses Against Scams.

Businesses Against Scams has more than 100 organisations involved to combat fraud against companies and employees who are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Business Against Scams initiative is a product of the National Trading Standards Scams Team and provides free training modules including examples of prominent scams and how to avoid falling victim. 

Organisation - Citizens Advice Scotland

Example interventions

  • Scams Action online web-chat services 
  • Scam Checker – Check if something might be a scam. 

Citizens Advice Scotland also support the Citizens Advice, England and Wales campaign, Scams Awareness Fortnight. The 2020 campaign focused on raising awareness of scams that have emerged as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Citizens Advice Scotland website also provides a list of the most common scams and things you can look out for. 

Further details

The Scams Action online web-chat services provides specialist one-on-one help for people who are worried they are being scammed and those who have already lost money. The service also undertakes scams prevention work to identify and tackle and raise awareness of online scams. 

Check if something might be a scam service is an online scams helper to get advice that is specific to a situation. The online scams helper will answer questions and give advice on 

  • how to check whether something might be a scam 
  • what to do if you’ve been scammed 

Organisation - COSLA

Example interventions

COSLA is the voice of Local Government in Scotland.

They are a councillor-led, cross party organisations who champions councils’ vital work to secure resources and powers they needs.   

Further details

COSLA are working closely with Scottish Government and other key partners regarding the coronavirus pandemic. In providing advice to councils, COSLA, have been directing them to the Trading Standards Scotland website – which is a part of COSLA for the latest Coronavirus Scams and the Scams Share weekly bulletin. 

Organisation - Crimestoppers

Example interventions

Covid-19 on and offline scams campaign 

Further details

Crimestoppers is a national charity which support UK citizens to anonymously provide information on crime. Crimestoppers cannot take information from individuals who are a victim of fraud, but they urge people to Take Five to Stop Fraud, led by UK Finance.  

This is a national campaign that offers advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. 

Crimestoppers launched a central Covid webpage directing people to key crime issues.  

The Covid-19 on and offline scams campaign was launched on April 1st 2020 to raise awareness of Covid-19 related doorstep crime, scams and fraud. It also sought to provide advice to those who are most vulnerable. 

Organisation - East Renfrewshire Financial Harm

Example Interventions

  • Financial Harm Toolkit 

Further details

East Renfrewshire Council Trading Standards have launched a new specially designed Financial Harm Toolkit to advise residents on how to stay safe and avoid scams.   

Created as a self-help area, the toolkit contains a wealth of useful information on many areas including: doorstep crime, email scams, unwanted mail, online shopping, Covid-19 scams, financial abuse, power of attorney and more. 

Organisation - Neighbourhood Watch Scotland

Example interventions

  • Neighbourhood Alert 

Further details

Neighbourhood Watch Scotland is a community led initiative to bring local people together to address crime and other community safety issues. 

With a reach of 3 million people across Scotland, the targeted ‘Neighbourhood Alert’ system run by NWS delivers targeted alerts and advice to the most vulnerable in society.   

Neighbourhood Watch Scotland support various scams awareness campaigns including Shut out Scammers led by Police Scotland and Trading Standards Scotland. 

With input from various partners, Neighbourhood Scotland have produced a booklet Safer Communities Safer Scotland. The booklet offers practical tips to keep families and communities safe and specific advice on Energy Efficiency scams and Mobility Aid scams.    

Organisation - Royal Mail

Example interventions

  • Scam Mail Reporting System 

  The Royal Mail website offers advice on how to spot a fake Royal Mail emails and how report a scam to them and it also provides examples of latest scams to be aware of. 

Further details

Royal Mails website Personal Customer Help Centre provides information on “What is scam mail”, fake lotteries and prize draws, bogus health cures, investment scams and pyramid schemes. 

If offers a Scam Mail Report template for completion and posting to Royal Mail and also an online reporting form and a telephone message service. 

Organisation - Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) 

Example interventions

  • Incident Response Helpline
  • CyberScotland Bulletin  
  • SBRC alerts and newsletter 

Further details

Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is brought together by Scottish Government, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish business community. 

Scottish Business Resilience Centre have launched the UK’s first cyber incident response helpline for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). SBRC, in partnership with Police Scotland, have prepared advice to businesses on the impact of COVID-19. 

SBRC work collaboratively with Police Scotland, Scottish Government and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations to produce the CyberScotland Bulletin. This is designed to provide information on the latest threats, scams, news and updates covering cyber security and cyber resilience topics.  

Due to the pandemic, the bulletin includes information about a much wider range of scams. 

Businesses can sign up to receive updates from SBRC on the latest news, guidance and business advice - SBRC Newsletter 

Organisation - Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) 

Example interventions

  • Cyber Resilience advice for small charities. 
  • CyberScotland Bulletin 

  The SCVO Website also features regular blogs on the latest scams with links to various organisations for further advice and also for reporting. 

E.g. NCSC Suspicious Email Reporting Services and how to sport the most obvious signs of a scam

Further details

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national membership organisation for the voluntary sector. 

SCVO provide support and learning to charities – Cyber resilience, Cyber security and Digital.   

SCVO have delivered training events for Cyber Scotland Week 2021, in partnership with SBRC, and Police Scotland. 

Organisation - Which?

Example interventions

  • Scam Alert Service   

Which? website offers advice on:

  • how to spot a scam 
  • beware of these scams 
  • protect yourself from scams and 
  • scam help and advice for older people 

They also offer signposting to report a scam and also access emotional support after a scam. 

The website also provides information on the latest scams news. 

Further details

Which? have created a weekly alert service, which also looks at the most recent scams reported by consumers in the UK and provides advice on how to stay safe and protect themselves.