Over 80% of Brits Deluged with Scam Calls and Texts

Some 45 million Brits received fraudulent phone calls and texts over the summer, according to new data from Ofcom.

The UK’s telecoms regulator polled 2,000 adults on September 18-19 2021, to assess how many had been affected in the previous three months.

Some 82% said they had, with the vast majority (71%) claiming they’d received suspicious text messages. Three-quarters (75%) of those people were aged 16-34.

Over two-fifths (44%) of those who’d received messages said they were hit at least once a week.

For older individuals, scam calls appear to be a more significant threat. Some 61% of respondents aged 75 and over reported receiving a potential scam call to their landline, with more than half (53%) of those getting a call at least once a week.

Unfortunately, 2% of respondents admitted following the scammers’ instructions in a message or call, which amounts to roughly one million Brits.

Most mobile users (79%) said they weren’t aware of the 7726 number, which can report a suspected text or call.

“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,” claimed Ofcom networks and communications director Lindsey Fussell.

“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. Report texts to 7726 and scam calls to Action Fraud or Police Scotland.”

According to data compiled by Griffin Law, privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), recorded a 60% rise in reports of nuisance calls, texts and emails in the first six months of 2021 compared to the whole of 2020.

Tessian CEO, Tim Sadler, argued that scammers are getting more persistent and sophisticated with their campaigns.

“Distraction and fatigue are some of the most common explanations for why someone might fall victim to an online scam. It’s so important, then, to take a couple of seconds to think before you comply with any request,” he added.

“Inspect the sender’s details and ask yourself whether that organization would ask you for this information. If in doubt, hang up or press delete. You can always verify the request by contacting the company in question, using the details provided on their legitimate website.”

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