SCAMS AWARENESS 2019 - Over 400,000 Scots have fallen victim to a financial scam

14 June 2019

  • One in 10 Scots (10%) say they have been a victim of some form of financial scam

  • More than four in five (84%) people feel confident that they could spot a financial scam, while a third (33%) managed to put a stop to potential fraud

  • Dodgy emails (36%) and phone calls (35%) are the main ways in which scammers approach victims


More than 400,000 Scots (10%) have fallen victim to a financial scam at some point in their lives, new research by Bank of Scotland and YouGov has revealed.

One in three people (29%) know someone who has been duped by a fraudster, according to the Bank of Scotland How Scotland Lives study.

Despite this, 84% say they feel confident that they would be able to spot a financial scam, and three quarters (78%) say they can keep up with the potential risks around financial scams.

A third (33%) of clued-up Scots reported that they have been targeted by fraudsters but were able to put a stop to it.

Despite sometimes being considered a more likely target for scammers, those aged over 55 are most confident that they could spot a potential fraudster (86%), while those under 24 are the least confident in their ability to spot an attempted scam (81%).

The research, commissioned to coincide with Citizens Advice Scotland’s Scams Awareness 2019, also found that dodgy phone calls (37%) and fake emails (36%) are the most common ways for fraudsters to target their victims.

However, scammers are broadening their horizons as Scots reported being contacted by fraudsters on social media (5%), company websites (4%) and through text messages (4%).

Paul Davis, Fraud and Financial Crime Director at Bank of Scotland said: “Scots are confident in their ability to spot a fraudster, yet it is clear from our research that many people still get caught out when it comes to scams. Fraudsters have adapted to changing technology and are using ever more sophisticated tactics, making them more difficult to spot.

“We’re encouraging people to talk to friends and family about fraud, so that more people are aware of how to identify the tell-tale the signs of a scam. If you suspect you’ve been targeted, it’s important to contact your bank immediately“.

Scams Awareness 2019 runs from the 10th to 23rd June. More information can be found here.

How to spot a financial scam By Paul Davis, Fraud and Financial Crime Director at Bank of Scotland

Fraudsters may try to get money from you by sending fake emails and texts or even calling you directly. They do this by sending an email or text to you in an attempt to get access to your internet banking details.

There are a few things you can do to help stop these types of fraud from happening:

  • Check for spelling mistakes – Get into the habit of checking for minor spelling mistakes in the addresses of the emails you receive. For example: “Bank Scotland” instead of “Bank of Scotland”. 

  • Double check the sender is real – If you receive an email asking you to make an urgent payment, always double check the request is real by speaking to them in person, or by calling them on the number you have saved.

  • Beware of unexpected emails – Be cautious about opening any emails that you weren’t expecting (even if you think you recognise the sender), and don’t click on any links or attachments unless you are sure they are genuine.Also, watch out for spoof text messages which may look similar to genuine messages you receive from your bank.

  • Use anti-virus software and stay up to date – Always use anti-virus software to protect your devices and ensure you have downloaded the latest updates for your operating system.

  • Question any requests to share details or move money – Your bank will never ask you to share your account details like user ID, password and memorable information. You should also be alert if your bank suddenly tells you to move your money or asks you to transfer funds to a new sort code and account number. Contact them immediately if you receive any requests of this nature.

  • Make sure your internet banking site looks normal – Do not log on or key in codes from your card and reader if any of the website pages look strange or different as this may indicate a virus infection.