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Charity warns older people to be wary of rogue traders as landlines in Wales go digital

03 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Telephone keypad. Image: Chris Campbell

A leading charity is warning older people to be wary of rogue traders trying to take advantage of the switchover from analogue to digital landlines.

The change will see telephone calls made over a broadband line instead of the old analogue network, which is becoming increasingly unreliable.

Age Cymru says for most customers, all aspects of the switchover will be free of charge with no home installation work required. If customers require additional support with set up, they will be contacted by their telephone provider.

The charity warns that if somebody offers to carry out work relating to the switchover, in return for some form of payment, it’s likely to be a scam that should be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

“Increased protection”

People can also check with their telephone provider about what work is or isn’t taking place in their area. However, if anyone feels threatened or in any danger from a rogue trader they should call the police as soon as possible.

Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says “It’s such a shame that we must warn older people to be on their guard in relation to the digital switchover as this is something that should improve people’s experiences of phone services.

“We’ve been told that lines will be clearer, which will help those who are hard of hearing.  There’ll be a facility to enable three party lines which will help people to have mini group chats with friends and family and thereby help reduce loneliness. And there’ll be increased protection against unwanted marketing or nuisance calls.

“However, given our experience of how rogue traders work we want to forearm older people so they can avoid potentially expensive and emotionally damaging scams and instead take full advantage of the new phone services without any unnecessary fears.”

Understanding the digital switchover process 

BT, the biggest supplier of landlines in Wales, is holding dozens of events across the country to advise customers face-to-face about the switch. Other phone providers may also be organising similar events.

Age Cymru understands that for most customers, digital switchover will simply involve connecting your home phone handset to a router rather than the phone socket on the wall. And for BT customers, if you don’t have the correct router, they will send you one completely free of charge.

At this stage, BT will be writing to all their customers to make them aware of the changes, and following up with those who are ready and eligible to make the switch. BT will not be switching customers who may have difficulty making the change just yet and will give these customers additional support when the time comes.


If you think you’ll have a problem with the transition, think you are vulnerable, or use a healthcare alarm connected to your landline, please contact your phone provider and tell them.

And if anyone uses a personal healthcare alarm, they should also check with their suppliers that they have everything they need prior to the switchover.

BT customers who are ready and eligible to make the switch will be contacted four weeks before making the move to ensure they have everything they need.

While BT are by far the biggest provider of telephone services in Wales, this is an industry-wide change and other telephone providers are managing their own switchover process so contact your provider to understand how the change will affect you.


According to the Wales Against Scams Partnership (WASP) older victims of scams in the UK lose an average of £1,200 over their lifetimes.

WASP also cites Action Fraud data showing that they receive around 15,000 cases of fraud from Wales each year. However, Action Fraud believes that the reported figure is just the tip of the iceberg and that the actual number of scams undertaken, or attempted, is seven times bigger.

And according to recent BBC research it is estimated that the UK is losing £2,300 per minute to scam activity.

For more information visit or call Age Cymru on 029 2043 1555. 

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