Scottish Government YouGov Scams Survey: 2019

Summary of research commissioned by Scottish Government and carried out by YouGov in 2019, to help inform the initial evidence base around the impacts of scams on people in Scotland and levels of awareness of scams prevention campaigns.

In September 2017, the Scottish Government published its action plan to tackle nuisance and scam callers. The Scottish Government works closely with a number of agencies, including local authority Trading Standards and Police Scotland to improve consumer awareness of nuisance calls and scams in different ways such as:  intelligence sharing and prevention campaigns. To assess the success of campaigns in raising awareness of nuisance calls and scams and how to prevent them, further research was required.  

The Scottish Government commissioned the Nuisance Calls and Scams YouGov survey, August 2019, in order to establish a basic benchmark of the issues in play at the time.  

“A nuisance call is an unwanted call”:  

Including, for example: live or pre-recorded sales or marketing call, a silent or abandoned call, any call that is malicious, obscene or harassing or where idea can cause the recipient a range of harm from annoyance to lasting detriment, including emotional or financial damage.

Summary of results

The survey results showed that 48% of people had seen a reduction in nuisance calls over the previous 12 months, but 42% were unaware that their telephone service provider could help to block nuisance calls.  In addition, 52% of people surveyed had not seen or heard about any scam prevention campaigns in the last 12 months; 76% percent of people felt at risk of falling victim to a scam; 18% reported that they had lost money as a result of a scam; and  63% would report a scam to the police.  Summary of questions listed below:

  • when, if ever, was the last time you received a nuisance phone call?
  • in general, how frequently do you think you have received nuisance phone calls, during the time you were receiving the calls?
  • thinking about the number of nuisance phone calls you receive now compared to a year ago (i.e. August 2018)...Has the frequency you receive nuisance phone calls increased or decreased, or has it stayed about the same year on year?
  • do you know the organisations you can report these nuisance phone calls to?
  • before taking this survey, were you aware that your telephone service provider (e.g. BT, virgin etc.) can help you block nuisance phone calls?
  • do you currently use any blocking services (i.e. free or paid) to block nuisance phone calls (e.g. using telephone service provider, an external blocking service etc.)?
  • you previously mentioned that you use blocking services to block nuisance phone calls.  Which, if any, of the following services do you use?
  • to what extent, if at all, do you feel at risk of falling victim to a scam in the future?
  • have you EVER been a victim of a scam and lost money as a result (i.e. even if you got the money back at a later date)?
  • if you can imagine you were a victim of a scam, lost money as a result and wanted to report it. Who would you contact to report the scam to?
  • thinking about the last 12 months (i.e. since August 2018)...Have you seen/ heard about any scam prevention campaigns?
  • you previously said that you had been aware of a scam prevention campaign within the last 12 months (i.e. since August 2018).  Where did you see/ hear about the campaign?

The full statistical dataset for this survey can be accessed on this page.

Scottish Government YouGov Scams Survey: 2019
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