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Scary “scam-demic” stats…

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Guest Blog by Alison Stone, Third Sector Cyber Resilience Co-ordinator


It does seem like the last 18 months have been a scammers paradise – the ever changing aspects of the pandemic delivered an ever changing smorgasbord of opportunity for fraudsters.  This was apparent to the collective group from the CyberScotland Partnership when they got together last April to pull together the Cyber Resilience Bulletin, a now monthly newsletter available from the CyberScotland Partnership website. 

The group, made up of representatives from Police Scotland,  Scottish Government, the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) tracked and shared details of scams as they occurred during the pandemic , with the purpose of making individuals, businesses and charities aware of these frequently happening activities.

Whilst we now find ourselves coming out the other side of the pandemic, it seems highly unlikely that the scammers will down tools – a recent report from UK Finance stated that fraudsters had stolen on average £4million PER DAY, every day in the UK, since the start of 2021.  So, continued awareness raising is vital.

With this in mind, both OSCR and the CyberScotland Partnership are delighted to be involved in Charity Fraud Awareness Week, which is held annually.  Charity Fraud Awareness Week is an award-winning campaign run by a partnership of charities, regulators, law enforcers, representative and umbrella bodies, and other not-for-profit stakeholders from across the world. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of fraud and cybercrime affecting the sector and to create a safe space for charities and their supporters to talk about fraud and share good practice.

This October, OSCR will be hosting a session especially for third sector organisations in Scotland to increase awareness of Charity Fraud and to provide some help and advice on how you can avoid becoming a victim. Held on Tuesday 19th October at 2pm, it is great to be joined by fraud expert, Dave Carter, who is Head of Counter Fraud Management at the British Council. 

Dave has been Head of Counter Fraud for two major international charities, including his current role in the British Council, where he was recruited to design, build and then run their global counter fraud functions.

In both organisations Dave had global responsibility for fraud & crime management, including awareness raising, reporting & detecting, responding and prevention – plus leading on investigations. He devised and implemented the key strategies which allowed for this risk to be management in hostile environments, and on occasions during the worst humanitarian disasters that have occurred in modern times. Travelling extensively, Dave built a global team to support the operational function, to provide reassurance to trustees & donors, and to ensure compliance with legal & regulatory responsibilities.

This should be a really valuable session and we would encourage people to sign up quickly as spaces will be in demand.  It’s a great opportunity to learn more about this slightly scary subject and ask questions of an absolute expert.