Scams prevention, awareness and enforcement strategy: 2021 to 2024

Strategic framework to tackle scams in Scotland, underpinned by coordination and collaboration across partner organisations and focused on prevention and disruption; awareness and education; and enforcement.

Tackling Scams in Scotland: A Shared Framework, Vision and Outcomes

Figure 1 presents an overview of the new strategic framework that we are introducing to tackle scams in Scotland, and how we see this approach supporting delivery of a broader vision and national outcomes over time.

Figure 1: Realising our vision, delivering outcomes - a strategic framework for tackling scams in Scotland, as linked to wider drivers of change and contribution to outcomes under the National Performance Framework.

Summary of Strategic Objectives & Actions, 2021-24

Below is a summary of key strategic objectives and actions that we will take to implement this framework in practice. This strategy sets out why this work is important, the gaps we seek to address within the current scams prevention landscape and how these actions – as structured by the new framework – will help us strengthen our collective approach.

Table 1: A summary of the key objectives and associated actions that will be taken forwards in line with implementation of the new strategic framework for tackling scams in Scotland, 2021-24
Strategic Framework Pillar: Cross Cutting
Objective Support greater stakeholder coordination and collaboration
Action 1. Establish a formal “Scottish Scams Prevention Partnership”
Objective Elevate the voice – and needs – of people in scams prevention work
Support capacity and resilience building amongst people to reduce the risk posed by scams and their impacts
Increase the evidence base concerning the scale and nature of harm caused by scams in Scotland
Action 2. Deliver a programme of public engagement across Scotland
Objective Build a more integrated strategic policy approach to tackling scams in Scotland
Action 3. Establish a Scottish Government Policy Reference Group
4. Map related national policies and programmes
Strategic Framework Pillar (1): Prevention & Disruption
Objective Support industry sharing of good practice approaches to scams prevention
Encourage greater investment in appropriate technological innovations for practical interventions
Action 5. Conduct reviews, or deep dives, across key sectors
Strategic Framework Pillar (2) Education & Awareness

Support greater stakeholder coordination and collaboration

Support capacity and resilience building amongst members of the public to reduce the risk posed by scams and their impacts
Action 6. Put in place supporting communications infrastructure for the new “Scottish Scams Prevention Partnership”
7. Support the Partnership to create an Anti-Scams Strategic Communications Plan, and calendar of events
8. Develop a Strategic Education Action Plan
Strategic Framework Pillar (3) Enforcement
Objective Streamline the “user journey” for reporting scams and accessing advice and support in Scotland
Action 9. Establish a Streamlining the Landscape Steering Group led by enforcement bodies, to conduct an options appraisal
Objective Promote a more holistic scams data and intelligence picture in Scotland to track impact of interventions and better enable the targeting of investments on what works
Action 10. Develop an appropriate and robust approach to monitoring trends in scams and measuring the impact of further actions arising from delivery of strategic Objectives and any agreed next steps


Following the conclusions of the Scottish Nuisance Calls Commission, in September 2017 we published an action plan in which we committed to the longer term ambition to develop a scams prevention strategy[1]. This was in recognition of the Commission’s assessment that nuisance calls are often a part of a more complex and harmful scam activity.

To inform next steps, we undertook initial baseline work to better understand the extent of the issue that scams pose in Scotland. This included an evaluation of the effectiveness of actions to reduce harm caused by nuisance calls, published in March 2018[2].

On 13 June 2019, the First Minister then announced the Scottish Government’s plan to publish a new Scams Prevention Strategy.

A new Scams Prevention Partnership Group was formed, and a set of suggested ideas were identified for further consideration as part of the development of the strategy:

  • to explore the value of a central point for people in Scotland to report scams, and receive feedback, advice and support – cited as part of this included benefits in terms of streamlining the user journey, and optimising intelligence to inform further prevention and intervention work;
  • set up a data group to assess current data and intelligence and how it can be used to prevent scams; and
  • develop a more coordinated approach to scams awareness and education, including: exploring a centralised calendar of campaigns; and a framework that supports both national and local priorities.

In September 2020, the Minister for Business, Fair Work & Skills announced the establishment of a newly focused and streamlined Scams Prevention Strategy Partnership & Advisory Group[3], comprised of 14 members and two observer organisations. The group was specifically tasked with developing robust advice to help steer the strategic direction of travel for scams prevention work that would be reflected in the strategy, building on the initial outputs of the previous partnership group.

The focus and actions within this strategy have been developed on the basis of the work of the Advisory Group – and sub-working groups – as well as additional discussions with central advice and enforcement bodies on an ad hoc basis. As such, we are confident that the work set out here represents a fair reflection of wider stakeholder concerns and advice regarding how best to tackle scams in Scotland.

This strategy sets a direction of travel for further collaboration with partners throughout Scotland to combat scams, and develop a “whole person, whole system” approach to support and enforcement provision. Tackling scams effectively – and consistently meeting the diverse needs of those impacted – is a long term objective that will take commitment and determination. The actions set out here represent just the first steps in this journey.

In the following chapters, we will outline:

(1) What we mean when we talk about “scams” and why they are an important issue in Scotland to address;

(2) The good work that is already underway by partners and the Scottish Government to address some of the challenges presented by scams;

(3) Gaps in the existing approach and what is needed to strengthen our collective approach;

(4) What new work we are in the process of taking forwards, or will develop over the coming months with partners in order to address these gaps through the introduction of a new strategic framework; and

(5) How we will oversee delivery.



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