A recent study has revealed that millions of Brits feel hesitant to hang up on scammers, considering it impolite to do so. Researchers found that UK residents receive over 150 million suspicious calls every week, with 60% reporting an increase in such calls since March 2020.
Surprisingly, despite the inconvenience and potential risks, one in five adults believe that hanging up on a caller, even if they are a scammer, is rude. Another 20% feel obligated to remain on the line to listen to the caller’s pitch.
The survey, conducted among 2,000 adults and commissioned by Santander, found that almost half (47%) of respondents receive three or more suspicious calls per week, with 23% receiving at least five calls. Shockingly, one in ten individuals are targeted by such calls at least once a day.
However, even though fraud experts advise promptly hanging up on suspicious calls, almost half (47%) of those surveyed fail to do so. In response to this issue, Santander has partnered with the Chelsea Pensioners to empower individuals to politely say ‘Push Off’ to suspicious callers.
The Chelsea Pensioners, dressed in their iconic scarlet uniforms, performed a unified rendition of the classic wartime song ‘Good-bye-ee!’ and offered some choice words for scam callers.
This research aligns with warnings from fraud experts, who caution that engaging in conversation with scam callers can lead to disastrous consequences. Dave Lowe, head of fraud at Santander, emphasized the importance of the Chelsea Pensioners’ advice, stating, “The best way to stop a scammer is not to let them sweet talk you into doing something you might regret – whether that’s sharing too much information or transferring money. We’re proud to partner with the Chelsea Pensioners in our fight against scam callers. As an iconic institution of British politeness, who better to share the message that when you get a cold call, put your manners aside and simply hang up the phone.”
The research also found that 89% of individuals aged over 65 expressed confidence in identifying and dealing with suspicious calls. In contrast, only 38% of Generation Z respondents (aged 18-24) felt the same, with 54% admitting they had been scammed by a cold caller. Surprisingly, 68% of Generation Z individuals considered it rude to hang up on a scammer who was nice or polite.
However, older adults are less susceptible to such tactics, as only 4% of those polled considered it impolite to hang up on cold callers.
Jo Molendo, social care manager at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, commented, “Unfortunately, scam calls are prevalent, and knowing how to spot them and stay safe is a priority for our Pensioners. While the Chelsea Pensioners are renowned for their British politeness, sometimes it’s wiser to prioritize personal safety over manners. We hope that this partnership with Santander will help people of all ages confidently deal with scam callers – politely, of course.”
HOW TO IDENTIFY A SUSPICIOUS PHONE CALL:
- The call is unexpected.
- The caller puts pressure on you to act immediately, claiming you might miss out on a reward or that your money is at risk.
- The caller asks for security or PIN codes to access your bank account or make payments.
- The caller advises you to download software or an app onto your devices.
- The caller suggests that you lie to your bank about the purpose of a payment.
To learn more about identifying and dealing with scams, visit https://www.santander.co.uk/personal/support/fraud-and-security/spotting-fraud-or-scams.