Call blocking equipment installed on phones belonging to older and more vulnerable Angus residents, has prevented 81,643 nuisance calls from getting through.
In all, Angus Council has installed 154 trueCall units free of charge to phones since 2013, with the aim of preventing scam calls from reaching their intended targets. In that time the protected phones have received about 41 calls per month, which is two times the national average
Thankfully 99% of the calls were blocked. The nuisance calls amounted to almost half of all calls made to those numbers - 27% of them coming from overseas.
Feedback from people protected by the equipment has been overwhelmingly positive, with families saying it has allowed elderly relatives to live in their own homes for longer; reduced the fear of cold calls and improved quality of life; and made the phone “a friend” again.
It is estimated that the project has already prevented almost 100 scams and made estimated savings of £327,739 in Angus. Giving consideration to savings to households, NHS and health and social care costs, it is estimated that, during the five-year lifespan of the call blockers, they will deliver a saving of £1,518,531 against an outlay of £23,870.
Mark Hodgkinson, Adult Protection and Review Officer for the Angus Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The scale of the problem with scammers is massive. It can be difficult for law enforcement agencies to catch the criminals in circumstances where the scam victim lives locally but falls prey to international crime. The criminals think they can act with impunity, but we have shown there are simple measures we can all take to make their life more difficult.
“We’re proud of what we have done locally. Angus Council is still the only local authority in Scotland to have a formal policy on financial harm. The savings made by the installation of the trueCall devices – to people and the public purse – represent a very clear indication of our determination to do all we can to protect people from this persisting menace.”
The call blocker equipment allows calls from friends, family and other known trusted callers through, while asking unrecognised callers to identify themselves before being put through. The householder decides how it handles the calls and who gets through.
If you know of any vulnerable adult at risk of financial abuse, contact our ACCESSLine 03452 777 778. There’s more information about scams and how to prevent them on our Scam Free Angus webpages. You can also contact the ACCESSLine to speak to Trading Standards about call blockers or email email@example.com