No blame, no shame anti-scams campaign

The Brief

In October 2023, Barley launched #NoBlameNoShame for National Trading Standards (NTS), an anti-scam campaign to reduce the shame felt by scam victims and encourage more people to report.

Insights and Approach

Scams are hugely underreported, and this creates challenges for the authorities in dealing with these crimes. Working with the NTS Scams Team, we identified that shame and a culture of victim-blaming discourages people from reporting – or even talking about what’s happened to them. This lack of reporting leads to under resourcing, meaning victim support services are patchy across the country.

Barley prepared a plan to support NTS’ No Blame No Shame campaign to encourage people to talk about scams, drive traffic to NTS’ online learning resource – Friends Against Scams – and encourage the Government to enhance support for victims.

Activating the plan, Barley:

  • Found that 73% of UK adults have been targeted by scams, with 35% losing money. Fewer than a third reported the crime to the authorities, with feeling ‘stupid’ and ‘embarrassed’ being among the most common reasons for keeping quiet. This data formed the backbone of our media story, allowing us to provide context, give advice and set out our ask for better victim support services.
  • Worked with a criminologist researching the similarities in the techniques used by scammers and domestic abusers, to provide a supportive quote and additional media angle
  • Briefed and prepared a case study who had lost over £40K after months of grooming at the hands of cryptocurrency scammers, ensuring she was comfortable telling her story and understood the key campaign messages
  • Liaised closely with the BBC to secure coverage of the story during its ‘Be scam safe’ week. Pitching under embargo to align with NTS Scam Team social media activity, we then targeted the wider consumer media, having prepared a comprehensive brief for our key spokesperson, the head of the Scams Team.

The Outcome

The campaign was covered extensively by national and regional media including BBC Breakfast, ITV Good Morning Britian, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC local radio, LBC, Times Radio, Channel 5 and the Daily Express, amongst others.

BBC Radio 5 Live covered the story twice – praising the work of the NTS Scams Team and directing listeners to the Friends Against Scams website on launch day, before welcoming on a spokesperson from the NTS eCrime Team the next day to talk about AI scams following a speech by the Prime Minister covering the subject.

The coverage got the nation talking about the shame felt by scam victims, the need to destigmatise being a victim and the importance of reporting – including with a panel discussion and phone-in on Channel 5s Alexis Conran show . There were also significant links and signposts to Friends Against Scams as well as to Action Fraud and Citizens Advice.

Following the campaign launch, the NTS Scams Team spoke at the Home Affairs Committee inquiry into fraud and has been invited to a number of high-level government meetings on the issue.