This report presents the findings of research conducted by EKOS Economic and Social Research based on a commission from the Scottish Government's Consumer, Competition and Regulation Unit.
Its objectives were to undertake a review of existing research and evidence on the financial cost of scams to the Scottish economy to identify and measure preventative strategies designed to reduce their impact.
The Scottish Government is responding to this challenge and recognises the need to develop a more strategic approach, including increased emphasis on collaborative working and active, coherent methods to identifying and protecting those most at risk.
To support development of the strategy, it is recognised that a clear picture of the impact of scams on the Scottish economy is required as well as an understanding of the benefits of preventative interventions, and a comparative assessment of such measures.
1.2 Study Objectives
The detailed objectives of the research were:
- to review evidence and develop an assessment of the cost to Scotland's economy of scams;
- to identify existing preventative measures and strategies designed to protect people from scams, both in Scotland and across the UK; and
- where possible, to quantify the social and financial impacts of these preventative interventions.
The research brief also identified the following key tasks:
- assess the cost of scams on Scotland's economy taking into account both individual losses and wider costs to society;
- analysis of data, research and practice to identify existing preventative spend interventions in Scotland and across the UK;
- assess the impact of these strategies, including where possible quantifying their financial and social benefits; and
- provide recommendations of interventions that are likely to offer the greatest return for preventative spend.
1.3 Report Structure
The proposal has been prepared in line with the specific and detailed tender instructions, and is structured as follows:
- Chapter 2: Setting the Context;
- Chapter 3: Scope and Scale of Scams;
- Chapter 4: Scam Prevention Measures;
- Chapter 5: Stakeholder inputs ; and
- Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendations.
Appendix 1 provides details of the main organisations currently addressing the issue of fraud and scam and Appendix 2 sets out in some detail the different types of fraud and scam.
1.4 Research Support
In undertaking this research the consultants were aware that there was extensive wider concern for the issue of scams and the need for a more focused response to mitigate their impacts.
We are particularly grateful to the many organisations and individuals who contributed to our understanding and provided valuable insights and views on how best to tackle the issue.
We have included a list of those as an appendix to this report and offer up our kind regards and thanks.