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16/10/17 09:10

Stopping nuisance calls

1,200 vulnerable people will be protected.

£75,000 has been pledged to curb the threat of nuisance and scam callers.

The new funding will enable call-blocking technology to be installed in people’s homes, bringing the total number of vulnerable people the Scottish Government scheme has protected from unwanted calls to more than 1,200.

In September the Scottish Government published its action plan to tackle nuisance and scam callers and announced £50,000 for the first batch of call blockers.

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said:

 “Scotland is disproportionately affected by nuisance calls. We have three of the four worst affected cities in the UK, with the problem particularly prevalent among the elderly and the vulnerable.

“As well as causing widespread annoyance and distress, in some instances these calls can have serious financial consequences.

“Since establishing the Nuisance Calls Commission last year, we have seen the situation improve in Scotland but we can and must do more.

“This additional funding will ensure that over 1,200 of Scotland’s most vulnerable citizens are now protected from the threat of scam callers. Trading Standards Scotland will distribute the new call blockers and will work closely with local authorities and third sector organisations so that the units go where they are needed most.

“The power to legislate in this area is reserved to the UK Government. The Scottish Government shares the frustration of those affected that there has been a lack of legislative progress to date, but we will continue to press UK Ministers to do more to stop nuisance calls, including exploring a model which automatically opts people out of unwanted calls and greater powers to prosecute those companies who are found to be responsible.”

Background

Research from Which? showed that:

  • Eight in ten (81%) of people in Scotland received a nuisance call on their landline in the last month, down from nine in ten (91%) who received such a call in 2015.  Additional findings included;
  • The average number of nuisance calls received is 14 per month.
  • Seven in ten people in Scotland told Which? that cold calls discouraged them from picking up their home phone.
  • Four in ten said that they have felt intimidated by cold calls.
  • The most common calls to landlines reported include silent calls, PPI insurance and accident claims. 

On 11 September, the Scottish Government published its action plan to address nuisance calls. https://news.gov.scot/news/nuisance-calls-action-plan

Trading Standards Scotland will distribute the call blocking units, building on good practice already developed with social work, healthcare and charitable agencies so help goes where it’s most needed.