A pilot project which saw thousands of call blocking devices installed in the homes of vulnerable and elderly people has been hailed as a major breakthrough in the battle against so-called nuisance calls, after it led to 99% of unwanted calls being halted.
The legitimate telemarketing industry – included industry group the DMA – has long argued that technology could be one of the most effective solutions to scam callers.
The £500,000 project, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May last April, has led to more than 100,000 scam phone calls being blocked in a year.
Between May 2017 and April this year 108,918 calls were not accepted. The devices will not allow recorded messages, silent calls and calls from numbers not pre-identified by the homeowner.
Before the trial, eight in 10 vulnerable consumers had felt worried and 60% felt threatened or scared by the calls; after the blockers were installed this fell to 17% and 10% respectively.
Trading Standards’ Louise Baxter said: “Nuisance phone calls have a huge impact on emotional and physical health, not to mention financial losses.”
Digital Minister Margot James said: “We are determined to end the plague of nuisance calls ruining elderly and vulnerable people’s lives.
“Only last month we laid out plans to make bosses of rogue companies personally liable for up to £500,000 if their firm breaks the law.”
It is estimated that over five years, the 1,500 call blockers given out will save consumers £18m in potential fraud and scams.
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