Much more than just a recommendation...

Posted on: 3rd June 2024

Featured Image

Five million over 50s fear answering the phone

Imagine being fearful or anxious of answering the phone in case you are confronted by a scammer on the other end.

Sadly, this is a real problem, with Age UK’s latest research discovering that almost a fifth of over 50s - equivalent to 4.9 million people - are scared of picking up the phone due to scams.

It also suggests that for some older people the fear of being scammed is restricting their lives, preventing them from using smartphones (eight per cent) or the internet (seven per cent). 

This can also increase withdrawal from society, by putting them off going outside (six per cent).

It’s awful to know anxiety around scams is affecting the day-to-day lives of people.

Fraud is easily the most common crime affecting people in England and Wales, accounting for 40 per cent of crime, according to estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – with data suggesting that, on average, four people over 50 are scammed every minute.

Though fraudsters unfortunately take aim at everyone, older people are more vulnerable to certain types of scams. 

According to National Trading Standards, around nine in 10 victims of doorstep scams, such as a rogue trader or fake charity worker, are aged 65 and over. The average age of a postal scam victim is 75.

Phone scams also feature heavily in reports to Which? from older members of the public, often related to investment fraud or scammers impersonating banks, telecoms providers and tech support specialists. 

Criminals may misuse 'number spoofing' technology so that they appear to be calling from genuine phone numbers, or trick victims into downloading screen-sharing tools to hijack their computers over the internet.

Age UK shared the following top five tips to help you avoid being scammed:

  1. Stop: never do anything you don’t want to or make any decisions on the spot.
  2. Check: always check their credentials.
  3. Ask: always ask someone you trust for a second opinion.
  4. Mine: do not give away personal information.
  5. Share: share your experience with others to lower their risk of being scammed.

A major campaign to transform the fight against fraudsters launched on the 12th February 2024. Stop! Think Fraud is backed by leading counter fraud experts who are uniting under one voice to provide consistent, clear and robust anti-fraud advice to the public.

Would you know if someone was trying to defraud you? One of the best weapons against fraud is knowledge. Once you know the tactics fraudsters commonly use and the signs to look out for, you have more chance of avoiding them.

Go to for all the information you need.

More about Safe Local Trades

Safe Local Trades 0800 014 1832 Allia Future Business Centre, Peterborough United Football Club, Peterborough, Cambs, PE2 8AN