As part of the Shut out Scammers campaign, Trading Standards Scotland is launching the roll-out of free call blocking devices to vulnerable individuals who are most at risk from scammers and rogue traders.

The Scottish Government has provided £15,000 in match funding to Trading Standards Scotland to procure 280 trueCall call blocking devices which are available free of charge from today (Monday 22nd June).

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“Scammers and organised crime groups take advantage of situations and look to exploit people’s fears and concerns. During the coronavirus pandemic many people are understandably concerned about their health, and that of their family, and may feel more isolated. It is now more important than ever that we are aware of potential scams and take steps to help protect the most vulnerable in our society.

“Call blockers can help protect people from the scammers and rogue traders. I urge anyone who feels they or a loved one would benefit from a call blocker to apply for a free device.”

Councillor Kelly Parry, Chair of Trading Standards Scotland’s Governance Board said:

“Unsolicited calls are one of the most popular methods used by scammers and unscrupulous businesses to reach people. Although we are all susceptible to being scammed, people with cognitive impairment such as dementia are most at risk. Not only does it cause financial detriment; it erodes their self-esteem and self-belief. By shutting out scam calls we can give vulnerable people confidence and peace of mind and help them to continue to live independently for as long as possible.

“At this challenging time when we are all more isolated due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the risk from scammers is higher. We have seen many new Covid-related scams emerge since lockdown and we want to protect people from them.

“As lockdown eases, unsolicited marketing calls are on the rise. These are often a pre-curser to a face-to-face sales visit in the individual’s home. As well as the risk that they will be pressurised into purchasing products their neither want nor need, there is a health risk, particularly to the elderly, from individuals entering their homes.”

Anyone wishing to apply for a call blocker should visit Trading Standards Scotland website: https://www.tsscot.co.uk/apply-call-blocker