Investigation targets nuisance calls

Ground-breaking trading standards investigation targets nuisance calls

In a ground-breaking set of investigations conducted by three Scottish Trading Standards authorities, the volume of nuisance calls, their effects on the health of the elderly and vulnerable are better understood and the available methods of prevention have been identified.

Angus Council, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire conducted parallel trials earlier this year.

While it is estimated that across the UK, the average household receives seven nuisance calls a month, it was found that about 40% of the phone calls received by older and vulnerable residents are nuisance calls.

78% of nuisance calls are made between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, when the general working population are not at home, but the elderly and vulnerable are most likely to be at home during the day. In turn this can lead to people being drained of their ability to be self sufficient, silent calls engendering a fear of crime and worse, losing their money to scammers and even forcing them into care.

The findings of the study were mirrored across the three councils, revealing the damaging extent that nuisance calls can have on the health, independence and wellbeing of the vulnerable – and it is believed they were being specifically targeted.

Brian Smith, Trading Standards Institute's lead officer for Crime and Disorder and Senior Trading Standards Officer for Angus Council, said: "The impact of nuisance calls can be devastating. For many it is just an annoyance but for the elderly and the vulnerable, it can be insidious and dangerous.

The full report can be read here (PDF 1478 KB).