Published Date: Nov 15th, 2023
Fife Council’s Trading Standards Team is offering local people who wish to protect themselves from possible scam telephone ‘cold’ calls the chance to have a free call-blocker fitted.
A call-blocker is a product that filters unwanted nuisance calls from a landline phone. It plugs into an existing phone line, and it can work alongside broadband and community alarm devices. Fife Trading Standards have been able to secure a sizeable stock of trueCall Secure+ call-blocking units and are looking to find good homes for them as soon as possible. The units provide far greater control to the user in terms of which callers can get through to them, and it allows the setting up of a trusted caller list for known contacts such as friends, family members and service providers.
Scams are becoming more common and sophisticated, so preventative measures to combat them are being seen as increasingly important. According to new research released recently by the National Trading Standards Team, 73% of UK adults (40 million people) have been targeted by scammers, and 19 million of them have lost money on at least one occasion.
More than half of all scams start with a phone call, and they come in many different forms. One of the most common and damaging examples is when a scammer, pretending to be from the ‘Fraud Team’ of your bank, cold calls to say that there is suspicious activity on your account. They then claim that there is a corrupt member of staff in your bank, and they need your help to identify them. This then results in them asking you to transfer funds into a ‘safe account’ or alternatively withdraw huge sums of cash from your account to be passed over to a fraudster in person, which unfortunately has happened on several occasions in Fife in recent weeks.
Data provided by trueCall shows that the 75 call-blockers given to Fife residents by Trading Standards in the past few years have already blocked more than 47,000 nuisance calls, at a success rate of 99%.
Dawn Adamson, Fife Council Trading Standards’ Manager, said: “It’s alarming that we are consistently receiving reports of Fife residents being scammed out of huge amounts of money as the ultimate result of unsolicited telephone calls from criminals.
“I would strongly urge Fife residents who are being plagued by nuisance calls, or who know somebody else who is, to get in touch with us to request the installation of a free call blocker. They can do so by emailing us at email@example.com and giving full contact details so that one of our officers can get in touch to make arrangements and also give further details on how the devices work. These units have proven to be highly effective for users and they also provide valuable data that assists vital investigations by national enforcement agencies into the activities of scammers.
“Fraudsters involved in this type of illegal activity are completely ruthless and will use any situation to con people out of their hard-earned money or obtain personal information from them. Unfortunately, people living in Fife are as likely to be targeted as anyone else in the country.”
Steve Smith from unit manufacturers trueCall added: "We have been working with Trading Standards teams in Scotland since 2012, and nearly 5 million nuisance and scam calls have been blocked. We're delighted to be working with the team at Fife on this important project.
Consumers should report all scams to Advice Direct Scotland, who provide a free advice and information service. Their helpline number is 0808 164 6000 and their website address is www.consumeradvice.scot Anyone who has been the victim of fraud should report it to Police Scotland on 101, or 999 in an emergency.