Four in five Brits targeted by scam calls and texts

Ofcom study shows young adults were most affected by fraudsters’ campaigns

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More than four fifths of UK adults were the targets of a fraudulent call or text this summer, research from Ofcom has found.

In the three-month period beginning in mid-June, 82% of survey participants told the regulator that they had received a suspicious communication via their mobile or landline phone. This equates to nearly 45 million people.

Scam texts were sent to 71% of respondents. Young adults emerged as the prime targets, with 75% of those aged 16 to 34 having received an SMS message from fraudsters.

Some 43% of respondents were recipients of a fraudulent call to their mobile phone, while calls to landlines were more commonly made to older people, with 61% of over-75s receiving such a call. 

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Of those who received suspicious texts or landline calls, a significant proportion – 44% and 53%, respectively – said they were contacted at least once a week.  

About one in 50 people – nearly a million in total – indicated that they had followed instructions given by the scammer.

Ofcom urged anyone that receives a suspicious text to forward it to 7726, which directs the message to the user’s mobile network provider. Recipients of scam phone calls to in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are encouraged to contact Action Fraud, while Scots should contact Police Scotland via the 101 service.

“Criminals who defraud people using phone and text scams can cause huge distress and financial harm to their victims, and their tactics are becoming increasingly sophisticated,” said Lindsay Fussell, director of Ofcom’s Networks and Communications Group. “Stay alert to any unsolicited contact. Put the phone down if you have any suspicion that it is a scam call, and don’t click on any links in text messages you’re unsure about.”


Sam Trendall

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