NEW REPORT: Trading Standards - Blocking Scam and Nuisance Calls for People Living with Dementia
Launched today, 25th June, this report looks at how the most vulnerable people in our society – particularly those living with dementia – are most at risk from scam and nuisance calls.
34% of scams take place over the telephone. As well as causing undue stress, and leaving millions afraid to pick up their phone, unwanted calls can result in vulnerable people making ill-advised decisions about their home, their life and their finances. In the worst cases, life savings are lost.
In 2012 Angus, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire Trading Standards started testing call blocking technology. Following the successful trial, in 2017 the Life Changes Trust provided funding to Angus, East Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire Council Trading Standards to allow them to empower vulnerable families to avoid scams.
The funding provided call blocking equipment and a package of support services to 840 households that were at high risk from predatory scammers. Almost half a million nuisance/scam calls have been blocked so far.
Ofcom says that the average UK household currently receives around 18 nuisance calls per month, but the vulnerable residents on this project were receiving on average 31 nuisance calls per month.
Participants, their families and their carers have said that the reduction in nuisance and scam calls has allowed their relative to live independently for an increased period. These preventative measures also saw a saving in public expenditure.
Interviews carried out with participants and their carers before installing the call blocking equipment and then again a few months later identified a range of benefits. These included reduced anxiety, confusion and stress, reduced risk of financial harm, fewer problems for carers to unravel, reduced risk of distraction and accidents, people felt safer and more in control, and their trust in the telephone - often a lifeline - increased their confidence to live independently.