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Working together against scams

Your involvement can make a significant difference

Age UK’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer discusses the findings of a cross-network programme designed to prevent and support older people from scams, and the importance of our work protecting the most vulnerable from a fraud epidemic.



On average, four people aged 50+ are scammed in England and Wales every minute. It shouldn’t be like this. At Age UK, we have embarked on the Scams Prevention and Support Programme – a huge programme of education to support older people, with an aim of helping older people to avoid scams and be more aware.


Last week, we launched the findings from the first phase of this programme. The good news is that it makes a real difference to older people’s lives, building confidence and increasing understanding of the risk of scams.

Thanks to the support of Lloyds Banking Group, and the work of 16 local Age UK and Age Cymru partners, this programme has been instrumental in addressing the increasing issue of scams targeting older people. This initiative represents a critical effort in the fight against the fraud epidemic, focusing on enhancing awareness and supporting those most at risk. In total, we’ve worked with more than 30,000 older people as part of this programme.

One of the people who took part in the programme told us: 

“I’m more alert now than I was last year because I’ve learned more about it. So, I’ve learned what not to say, which is a good thing … Because I live on my own and I’m housebound. And my thought was, I get carried away sometimes when they phone up and say you’ve won something. Tell us your address or give me your sort code, and we will send it on to you. You know? I’ve learned now not to do that because I did do it in the beginning.”

Exceeding targets

The programme has achieved its goals and exceeded them – a testament to its effectiveness in collaborative scam prevention and victim support. The success of the targeted one-to-one support sessions and awareness talks has been remarkable, demonstrating that we are making significant strides in the fight against scams and fraud.

The journey has also highlighted significant challenges, particularly the reluctance among older people to report scams due to shame or doubt about the effectiveness of how crimes are reported.

Key to this programme’s effectiveness, as with so much of Age UK’s work, is the role that our local partners play. At the launch of the report last week, Tracey Frith from Age UK East Sussex painted a picture of how her role as Scams Officer offers so much reassurance and support to the older people in her community who contact her for support.

As we continue this work into a second phase, a concerted effort is required to address the fraud epidemic effectively. The lessons learned from the Scams Prevention and Support Programme offer a roadmap for creating a safer environment for older people, emphasising the importance of collaboration, education, and support in combating scams and fraud.

Actions for the future

We cannot do this on our own, and our Policy team are working closely with Government and opposition officials to ensure that appropriate action is taken in the future – as detailed in our election blueprint for older people.

This report presents a clear account of what has been achieved, the challenges faced, and the steps needed to protect older people from scams and fraud. We urge community members, policymakers, and industry leaders to engage and contribute actively to ensure the sustained success and expansion of initiatives like the Age UK Scams Prevention and Support Programme.

Your involvement can make a significant difference—whether it is through advocating for stronger protective laws, volunteering to educate older people about scams, or supporting Age UK’s ongoing efforts. We invite you to join us in this crucial fight; together, we can fortify defences against fraud and secure a safer tomorrow for older people.

Scams Prevention and Support Programme

this programme aims to prevent thousands of older people from becoming victims of scams, and to support older victims of scams, so they feel safer and less likely to become repeat victims.

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Last updated: May 02 2024

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