Lockdown is a lonely time for my widowed 83-year-old uncle. By nature gregarious and uncomplaining, he has so far endured over three months cheerfully enough, stuck alone in his retirement flat. But when his landline rings (he’s never got on with mobiles), he instinctively reaches for it as the chance for a chat. Or he did.
Over the last ten days, those on the other end of the line have scammed him on three separate occasions. The cumulative effect has left him so anxious and self-doubting that now he thinks twice before picking up.
He is just one of many. Over the course of the lockdown, according to Action Fraud, the UK’s online centre for reporting fraud and cyber crime, some £4.6 million had been stolen – through fake online sales, bogus cold-calls, and