DCMS to manage scheme to protect dementia sufferers and other vulnerable people from nuisance phone calls
The Government has announced plans to plough £500,000 into making call blocking devices available to old people who are vulnerable to nuisance callers.
They will be provided to people, most likely dementia sufferers, who have been identified by doctors, trading standards officials and local authorities as being at a particular risk from callers who aim to exploit them.
The trueCall devices will completely block all recorded messages, silent calls and calls from numbers not already pre-identified by the home owner.
Devices will be installed in 1,500 homes. They will screen calls and can either ask callers to enter a security code which only genuine callers will know, or direct them to instead call a friend or relative of the home owner.
The funding includes £300,000 to supply the machines, with the remaining budget to go to the management of the service and raising public awareness of scam and nuisance calls.
A trial scheme last year resulted in 93% of participants feeling safer in their homes. This included one person who had previously paid £150,000 to a scam caller.
Announcing the programme, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We want to create a fairer society by cracking down on unscrupulous practices which target the most vulnerable.
“This new, targeted scheme is the latest step in the government’s fight against nuisance calls, protecting those who are most at risk, including those with dementia. We have seen people tricked out of thousands of pounds by scam callers and this Government is determined to clamp down on their activities once and for all.”
The project is being funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, co-ordinated by the National Trading Standards Scams Team and supported by local trading standards departments.
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