CITIZENS ADVICE WARNS THAT SCAMS SOARING IN SCOTLAND

CAB SCAMS SOARING SCOTLAND

Citizens Advice Scotland is today (Monday) launching a Scams Awareness campaign with new figures showing the scale of scams in Scotland.

46 per cent of people in Scotland say they have been targeted by scams at least once in the last year. Of these, one in three (30%) was targeted more than three times.
The figures, based on a survey by YouGov, are published by CAS today as it launches its Scams Awareness Campaign 2019.

The campaign runs for the next two weeks and aims to tackle stigma among Scots about reporting scams, urging them to STOP, REPORT, and TALK about them.
Analysis of Citizens Advice Scotland’s internal database also reveals a huge surge in people turning to local CABs for help and advice on scams.

· In 2018/19 the Scottish CAB network gave out 1,038 pieces of advice about scams. This is an increase of 86 per cent from 2017/18.
· In terms of reporting of scams, the network saw a 113 per cent increase from 2017/18 to 2018/19

The most common methods of scam identified in the Yougov survey were email (38%), telephone (42%) and online (10%). The most common types of scam were computer and internet repairs (39%), personal injury scams (38%), fake tax refunds and online transaction scams (32%).
A second survey, also conducted by YouGov, produced interesting findings about the issue of stigma and blame. Most Scots (71%) believe those hit by scams should not be embarrassed about it, and 82% say the main reason for scams is that scammers are clever in the way they present themselves.

Stigma can stifle conversations around protection against scammers and whilst the public believe scams victims shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed; there is still a huge issue with under-reporting of scams to advice services.

Launching the campaign, Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Derek Mitchell, said:
Let’s get one thing clear. A scam is a crime. It is fraud. In other words, it is theft. Whether they managed to take money from you or not, the person who scammed you is guilty of a crime, and they need to be reported to the police so they can be stopped.
“I have a message for scammers; We are on to you. We are tracking your methods and finding more and more ways to beat you. In this campaign we are joined by Trading Standards, Police Scotland, Young Scot, Age Scotland and others.“But the biggest allies in the fight against scams are the people of Scotland. When we come across a scam, regardless of whether it impacts upon us, we need to stop, report it and talk about it to our friends and family.
“Scammers depend on us staying silent. The more we talk about them, the more aware people become, and the harder they will find it to scam the next person.
“The Citizens Advice network in Scotland helps and advocates for hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland every year.
“So that’s why the theme of our campaign this year is STOP, REPORT, TALK. And that’s my message to people across Scotland. If we work together we can beat the scammers. It’s time to do that. You can get information on how to spot scams from our website www.cas.org or from your local CAB.”
Cllr Kelly Parry, Chair of the Trading Standards Scotland Governance Board, which is backing the campaign, said:“Scammers are extremely manipulative and are always on the lookout for new ways to con consumers out of money be it on the doorstep, by telephone, by mail or using the internet.
“Stay vigilant, if you are contacted and offered unsolicited goods or services and remember doesn’t feel rushed into making a decision. If you think you have been caught out by scammers, don’t suffer in silence and make sure you report your concerns. You are not alone; there is help and advice available.
“Trading Standards services and Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country are available to provide a wealth of advice and preventative measures to keep you and your loved ones safe.”
Sandra Harkness, Chair of SCOTSS, the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland, said:
“Our members in Scottish local authority trading standards services play a major role in delivering on scams prevention work in local communities and taking action where scammers are operating. We are delighted to support this annual awareness raising campaign.
“Older people are often targeted by a range of scammers a number of times, but every age group can be vulnerable to scams, which are often very appealing. If you are contacted and offered unsolicited goods or services don’t feel rushed into making a decision. If you think you have been caught out by scammers, don’t suffer in silence and make sure you report your concerns to Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000.”
Cllr Archie Dryburgh, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee / Andy Ferguson, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said: “ I am highly supportive of this campaign as residents in Dumfries and Galloway are known to receive four times the national average number of nuisance phone calls. A fifth of these calls will be scam calls which means that our communities need to be aware of this and not be afraid to seek help if they think they have been scammed.’
CASE STUDY
Alexandra Dobson, from Dunblane, explains how she was scammed through her mobile phone:
“Someone got hold of the authorisation code for my mobile phone, and used that to gain access to my bank account through internet banking. All of this was without my knowledge. They moved my phone account to a new provider, and were also able to move some of my savings from one account to another.
“The first I knew of this was when I suddenly lost my phone signal. When I contacted the phone company they told me to check with my bank, and it’s a good job I did because that was when I found out what was happening. I had to go to the bank and prove who I was, and thankfully they were able to stop the activity before I lost any money, but it was a really close run thing and it’s very worrying that this could happen so easily. It was also quite distressing, and a real inconvenience to have to prove who I am and change all my security settings etc.
I think the Scams Awareness Campaign is a really good initiative by Citizens Advice Scotland. Anything that can raise awareness of how these scammers operate has to be a good thing. I would urge everyone to be really vigilant. If you think a scam can’t happen to you, you’re wrong. And yes, we all need to talk about scams much more. That’s why I am speaking out today. I want to help make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Citizens Advice Scotland’s Scams Awareness campaign is aimed at everyone in Scotland, but is particularly targeted at those under 25 who are often the most embarrassed if they fall victim to a scam, and older Scots (55+) who tend to lose the most when scammed.

WHAT THE YOUGOV DATA SAYS

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.
Consumer Tracker Survey 2019:
Total sample size was 2078 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken 12th – 23rd March, 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

As far as you are aware, has anyone ever tried to scam you in the past year (i.e. since early March 2018)?
2,078 base, all Scottish adults.
22% At least once in the past year
10% At least two or three times
14% Three times or more.
40% No
13% Don’t know/can’t recall.

How were you approached when someone tried to scam you?
968 base, all Scottish adults who were targeted by a scam in the last year.
38% email
27% landline
15% mobile
10% online
5% text
2% cold caller in person
1% direct post
0.5% Indirect post
2% Other
1% Don’t know/ can’t remember

What types of scam have you experienced?
968 base, all Scottish adults who were targeted by a scam in the last year.
39% computer/internet repair scam
38% personal injury scam
32% fake tax refund scam
32% online transaction security scam (PayPal etc.)
30% banking security scam
16% lottery/prize draw/competition scam
12% fake or non-existent goods (event tickets etc.)
9% dating/romantic scams
7% home improvement scams
4% home repair scams
11% Other
5% Don’t know

YouGov Scotland Omnibus survey on Stigma:
Total sample size was 1,012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken 26th – 28th March 2019. The survey was carried out online, as part of the YouGov Scotland Omnibus Survey. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

Do you think that people should or should not be embarrassed about being in each of the following situation: falling victim to a scam?
1,012 base, all Scottish adults.
71% Should not be embarrassed
16% Should be embarrassed
12% Don’t know
2% Prefer not to say

Which, if any, of the following do you think are the MAIN reasons why people become victims of financial scams?
1,012 base, all Scottish adults.
82% Scammers are clever (in the way they present their scam, convince people to give their money etc.)
57% It’s easy for people to be tricked when it comes to money
22% Victims of scams aren’t paying enough attention to their money
22% Victim of scams are just unlucky
21% Victims of scams are greedy
2% None of these
5% Don’t know
1% Prefer not to say

CITIZENS ADVICE SCOTLAND STATISTICS
• In terms of people reporting scams to us, we saw a 113% increase from 2017/18 to 2018/19 across the Scottish CAB network.

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