20th October 2021

Ofcom news release - 45 million people targeted by scam calls and texts this summer


45 million people targeted by scam calls and texts this summer  

·        Text scams most common, with three quarters of 16-34 year-olds targeted 

·        Six in ten over-75s received a suspicious call to their landline 

·        Ofcom is encouraging people to flag suspicious text messages to the 7726 service and report calls to Action Fraud


Almost 45 million people have been on the receiving end of potential scam texts or calls in the last three months, new Ofcom research reveals. 

More than eight in 10 (82%) said they had received a suspicious message, in the form of either a text, recorded message or live phone call to a landline or mobile. This represents an estimated 44.6 million adults in the UK. 

Scams are more commonly attempted via text messages with seven in 10 people (71%) saying they have received a suspicious text, and three quarters (75%) of those aged 16-34 were targeted.

More than four in 10 (44%) who had received a suspicious text message reported receiving such a message at least once a week.

Our research also shows that suspicious calls continue to be a threat for landline users, with older people particularly susceptible. Three in five (61%) people aged 75 and over reported receiving a potential scam call to their landline.

More than half (53%) of respondents who received a suspicious live phone call on a landline over the last three months said that they got a call at least once a week. 

Four in 10 (43%) reported getting a suspect call to their mobile phone.

More than half of people who received a suspicious text either deleted the message (53%) or blocked the number (52%).

Almost half (49%) of those who received a suspicious live voice call, and more than four in ten (44%) who received a suspicious recorded message, blocked the number.

But, in the last three months alone, 2% reported following the scammers’ instructions in a message or call. This equates to almost a million people, who risk financial loss and emotional distress if a scam attempt is successful. 

The research also revealed that almost eight in 10 (79%) mobile phone users are not aware of the 7726 number used to report a suspected text or call – although a similar figure (81%) agreed that reporting messages is helpful in preventing people being scammed in the future.

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