Hero Awards: Consumer champion responsible for blocking millions of nuisance calls recognised with national award
Managing Director and co-founder of scams and nuisance call-blocking service trueCall, Steve Smith, has today been awarded the prestigious Hero Award from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), in recognition of his work in scam-prevention and protection of elderly and vulnerable consumers.
Surrey-based Steve Smith designed the innovative system to block unwanted and nuisance calls, after conducting research into the distress that nuisance calls were causing consumers.
Over two million nuisance calls have been blocked in the five years since trueCall has worked in partnership with trading standards and an estimated 2,140 scams have been prevented, according to Julie Brain, Community Engagement Officer at Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
TrueCall currently works with over 100 trading standards services around the country, including the National Trading Standards Scams Team, on projects protecting older and vulnerable consumers.
Since trueCall’s creation, Smith has been a consultant on the Telephone Preference Service, provided advice to Ofcom on nuisance calling, and guided the All Party Parliamentary Group on nuisance calls.
The CTSI Hero Award celebrates individuals or groups of people whose outstanding contribution towards consumer protection in our communities have made a significant impact. Every year, the Institute is inspired by the stories of nominees throughout the country whose bravery, altruism and hard work often goes unnoticed.
Chief Executive at CTSI, Leon Livermore, said: “Steve Smith is a true champion of vulnerable consumers, and we’re honoured to present him with a Hero Award.”
Smith was nominated by Julie Brain, who said: “trueCall has saved thousands of pounds in potential scams. Steve’s commitment to protecting consumers is admirable and we’re thrilled that commitment has been awarded today.”
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, presented Smith with his award at a special ceremony, which took place on Wednesday 20 June, at One Great George Street, London. Smith was honoured alongside eight other Heroes in consumer protection.
Notes for Editors:
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Picture l-r: Robert Wright (CTSI College of Fellows), Steve Smith (trueCall), Zac Goldsmith MP, Malcolm Craig (CTSI Chair)
CTSI College of Fellows
The College of Fellows is a charity that has supported CTSI and the trading standards profession for more than 60 years. It promotes educational and research activities, as well as providing help for the families and dependants of trading standards professionals who die in service, and in other times of crisis.
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
CTSI is a training and membership group that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
CTSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk.
Scams Awareness Month
Scams Awareness Month is an annual opportunity to raise awareness and take a stand against the crimes and predatory practices which affect millions of people. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has teamed up with Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP) to ensure trading standards services can raise awareness of scams across the country.
This year’s campaign, ‘Don’t miss a trick, be scam aware’, will continue to focus on those frequently targeted for scams. Working with trading standards, Citizens Advice have identified four groups most likely to be targeted by scams: young people (18-24), life established (40s-60s), over 70s and the socially isolated. Each week of the campaign will focus on one of these four key groups.