Scam call blocking device helps vulnerable adults across county

Some of the most elderly and vulnerable people who have been plagued by nuisance and scam phone calls have been given greater security and peace of mind after being loaned telephone blocking devices by Northumberland County Council.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 06 December, 2018, 08:32
Brought to you by the Berwick Advertiser team.

Last year, the authority’s Housing and Public Protection Service purchased five TrueCall telephone call blocking devices in a bid to clamp down on fraudsters and offer a greater sense of security for those most at risk.

The devices have been used across the county, blocking 99 per cent of nuisance and scam calls for the occupiers, providing significant benefit and respite to those who had previously being targeted.

Analysis shows that a staggering 61 per cent of all calls received by residents who had a device were nuisance phone calls and that 1,849 calls had been blocked and two scams were prevented. Residents were also receiving twice the national average number of nuisance calls.

The TrueCall devices, which normally cost around £100, plug in between the phone and the telephone socket and intercept all calls.

Unless the caller and number is registered in advance by the occupier, before letting the caller through, they must first state their name and where they are calling from so that the person receiving the call can decide whether or not to let them through.

Having achieved the desired effect of reducing the number of calls received, the devices are then placed in the homes of other residents in need.

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Coun John Riddle, cabinet member for planning, housing and resilience, said: “I can’t stress enough how invaluable call blocker devices have proved to be.”

He added: “Not only do they prevent our most vulnerable residents from high-end scams worth thousands of pounds, but the call blockers’ sheer presence takes away their worry when answering the phone.”

Philip Soderquest, Northumberland County Council’s Head of Housing and Public Protection said: “We know that these call-blockers can make a real difference to people’s lives and give those in vulnerable situations, such as those with dementia and their families, a greater sense of protection and security. They reduce confusion and stress for older people and help those who live alone feel safer and more in control.

“We have a small supply of the devices that we can lend to older adults who are the group most vulnerable to scam calls and we want to put them where they will be the most use.

“If you are elderly, or have an elderly member of your family being plagued by unwanted phone calls please call us on 01670 623870 or send an e-mail to trading.standards@northumberland.gov.uk and we will be in contact to see if we can assist.”