Investigation reveals nuisance call numbers

mairi evans.

mairi evans.

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An investigation by Angus Council has revealed that about 40 per cent of the phone calls received by older and vulnerable residents are nuisance calls - four times the national average.

The research was carried out as part of the council’s zero-tolerance campaign against scams and cold calling.

Earlier this year, Angus became the first authority in Scotland to adopt a financial harm policy setting out how it will target scammers and protect residents.

Recently trading standards officers carried out a pilot scheme to evaluate the level of nuisance phone calls received by residents, and to investigate the effectiveness of commercial call blocking products.

The pilot identified that one of the systems used successfully blocked over 95% of the nuisance calls, and the council is now looking at ways to make this technology more widely available to vulnerable citizens.

The council’s spokesperson on consumer protection, Councillor Mairi Evans, said: “Alarmingly, there appeared to be evidence that the more vulnerable residents were being specifically targeted by these nuisance callers.

“As well as the potential for financial harm, these calls can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety to those receiving them.

“The council believes that the toll this takes on the health and wellbeing of our vulnerable citizens is unacceptable.

“The feedback from residents and their carers who took part in the trial was very positive. Carers said that the technology also reduced the chance of trips and falls and was potentially enabling residents with conditions such as dementia to live independently for longer.”

The council will now investigate how call blocking technology can be provided to its most vulnerable citizens.

It will also raise awareness of the technology so that all residents can consider protecting themselves from nuisance calls

Councillor Evans added: “This is a ground breaking piece of work that had implications for councils, the health and social services service as well as enforcers and regulators across the UK.

“No studies of this sort have been carried out before, and I am proud that once again Angus is leading the way in identifying ways to protect our most defenceless residents.

“We will now work with the local and national organisations to investigate funding options to make call blocking technology available to vulnerable citizens.”

Parallel trials were set up by East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire councils and the results from the Angus mirrored their findings.

The full report can be viewed on the council’s website at www.angus.gov.uk/callblockingpilot.

For advice on call blocking technology contact the council’s trading standards service on 08452 777 778.