Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards is cracking down on telephone scammers this festive season by encouraging people with vulnerable family or friends to support them in applying for a free trueCall device, which prevents scam and nuisance calls.
The compact trueCall device screens incoming phone calls and blocks calls from unknown and unsolicited phone numbers.
Each year, a significant number of Buckinghamshire residents fall victim to fraudsters who employ deceptive tactics to steal sensitive data. Among the most prevalent methods used is cold calling, where fraudsters impersonate legitimate representatives of businesses or financial institutions.
Mark Winn, Cabinet Member for Homelessness and Regulatory Services, said:
“Our Trading Standards team helps to protect the vulnerable from telephone scammers year-round by providing these easy to plug in home devices. Once fitted, they enable all known contacts to dial straight through, with anyone else being screened on the various settings available.
“Christmas is a great time for getting together with friends and family and having conversations with the more vulnerable about cold callers. These conversations could help identify individuals who may benefit from having a trueCall device fitted in their homes. A great gift for any vulnerable person in Buckinghamshire, they are provided free of charge to those in need, so please do encourage people to contact us if they believe they could benefit from having one of the devices.”
Alarming statistics shared by the trueCall team reveal that the proportion of nuisance calls identified as scams has surged from 21% to 40% in the past two years. Furthermore, one-third of scam victims fall prey to a second scam within a year, with single older individuals being three times more susceptible than those living with partners. Vulnerable individuals are also targeted with approximately 40% more scam calls compared to the general population.
To date, Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards has successfully installed 547 trueCall devices. Over the past year alone, these call blockers have prevented over 48,000 scam and nuisance calls. It is estimated the use of these devices has prevented £600k being taken by deception from Buckinghamshire residents.
To apply for a free call blocker device, interested individuals should contact Trading Standards via email at email@example.com or call Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133. The devices are provided on loan for as long as they are needed – ensuring ongoing protection against fraudulent activities.
Any incidents of suspected fraud should be reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133.