UK Scamdemic: Half of over 60s put off surfing the web due to rise in internet scams

UK Scamdemic: Half of over 60s put off surfing the web due to rise in internet scams

Date: 12/04/23

Author: Anthony Harrison

  • With the internet celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, new research shows the web is increasingly becoming a lifeline for over 60s, as important services such as banking and booking medical appointments move online
  • Unfortunately, fraudsters are taking advantage of the increasing numbers of ‘silver surfers’ as new insights from Community Fibre and Age UK London reveal one in five over 60s are scammed at least once in their lifetime, with some being scammed up to nine times
  • Brits over 60 is being bombarded with phishing scams twice a week - with 15% being contacted at least once a day
  • As phishing scams become increasingly harder to spot, Community Fibre has partnered with Age UK London to support older people and empower them to surf the web with confidence

12th April. London, UK: As the internet turns 40, new data released today by Community Fibre, London’s fastest full-fibre broadband, and Age UK London reveals for people over 60, the internet is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a lifeline, as services in the UK - from banks to government services and supermarkets - become increasingly digitised.

Four in five respondents to the online survey told us that they now use the internet to shop for necessities (79%) and three quarters access bank accounts and pensions (75%), while two-thirds (64%) go online to keep in contact with friends and family. Additionally, half (48%) use the internet to book their medical appointments and to order prescriptions.

While 81% of the over 60s surveyed agree that the internet has a positive impact on their lives, there is a downside. Internet scams are now at an unprecedented high (1) and sadly one in five (21%) Brits over 60 have been scammed at least once. On average, those who have been conned have fallen victim to fraud twice - whilst for some, it is as many as nine times in their lives - leading to understandable feelings of anger (75%), anxiety (34%) and embarrassment (32%).

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, so do instances of internet fraud; the nation’s ‘scamedmic’ sees Brits over 60 receiving phishing scams twice a week - and 15% are contacted at least once a day. This barrage of contact leaves many feeling discouraged from surfing the web for fear of phishing scams (50%) and catfishing (33%).

When issues do arise, 16% of over 60s never ask for help, while one in ten (10%) don’t have anyone to turn to for help when they need help getting online - rising to one in five (20%) for those without children.

To help bridge the digital skills and confidence gap in over 60s, Community Fibre has partnered with national charity Age UK London to develop the Digital Skills and Inclusion programme, to help Londoners with all aspects of being online. Abigail Wood, CEO of Age UK London, commented “It’s encouraging to see people over 60 are becoming increasingly confident in surfing the web, as many important amenities such as banking, booking hospital appointments and shopping move online.

“However, as fraudsters become increasingly sophisticated in taking advantage of the digitisation of key services, we must help do all we can to empower this age group to use the internet safely and avoid common pitfalls. At the same time, we will continue to press for public services to keep an offline option for those who cannot or choose not to use the internet.”

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre adds, “We are committed to providing better broadband access and bridging the digital skills gap, enabling the communities we serve to access the internet safely and with confidence - something we’ll continue to build on this year with the expansion of our Digital Ambassador programme.

“With our research revealing a quarter (26%) of those over 60 are discouraged from using the internet due to high costs, we’re also very proud to offer anyone on a low income, including pensioners, our Essential tariff without needing to prove their eligibility. With people needing the internet now more than ever to access essential services, we’d encourage other broadband providers to follow suit.”

How to spot an online scam:
With one in five (22%) over 60s not feeling confident spotting a scam - Community Fibre and Age UK London have a range of online resources that provide assistance, including guidance on making the most of the internet, how to stay safe online and common scams to be aware of at the moment. Key indicators of a scam include:

  1. Errors in spelling or grammar, or wording that just doesn’t seem quite right or professional
  2. Requests for personal information, such as usernames, password or bank details
  3. Anything that’s time-sensitive and wants you to act fast - it’s unlikely your bank or other services would set you deadlines in this way
  4. Fake websites, which are designed to look very similar to legitimate sites but use old logos, weird fonts or strange design

For anyone in London in need of in-person assistance, more information on Community Fibre’s Digital Ambassador programme can be found here:

- ENDS - 

Online survey by Censuswide of 1,000 adults in the UK aged 60 and older. The survey took place between 17th and 21st March 2023.

For more information, please contact [email protected] for all media enquiries.

About Community Fibre
Community Fibre is future-proofing London communities by delivering 100% full-fibre broadband in the capital city. By believing in a more inclusive future where everyone has access to better broadband.

Community Fibre offers the fastest 100% full fibre broadband in London, with up to 10,000 Mbps for businesses and up to 3,000 Mbps for consumers, at the most competitive prices on the market. Through offering more reliable and affordable 100% full fibre connections, Community Fibre empowers communities, enabling them to connect with friends and family and access crucial services online.

Community Fibre was named the UK’s best Consumer Internet Service Provider 100k- for the third year running at the Internet Service Provider Association (ISPA) Awards 2022, in addition to being recognised as the Best Broadband Provider for Business. It is also the UK’s #1 Internet Service Provider according to Trustpilot, a title it has held every month for the last three years.

Currently, Community Fibre operates in the following London boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Bexley, Bromley, Camden, City of London, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, and Westminster.


(1) Cifas, 14th November 2022: Fraud skyrockets as cost-of-living and economic crises begin to deepen