Police are helping protect those most vulnerable to telephone scams by issuing 100 call blockers.
The True Call devices work by automatically ensuring only trusted callers already known to the user can get through. Unrecognised callers are asked for their identity before they are put through to the recipient, meaning that unknown or ‘cold’ callers can be refused.
With the owner’s permission, data from the devices can also be used to assist with investigations of fraud.
Recipients of the devices will be selected based on their level of vulnerability as part of the Force’s Operation Signature initiative, aimed at preventing scams and fraud and supporting vulnerable victims.
Devices are also available to purchase for residents wishing to block unwanted callers.
Mrs Tina Phillips, from Polegate, was inundated with scam mail and nuisance calls for over four years until she and her husband got a telephone scanning device installed.
Mrs Phillips, who had her device installed by East Sussex Trading Standards as part of a project run by the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said: “We were receiving around three calls a day, which quickly added up to around 14 calls a week. Having the device installed really has given us our lives back.”
PC Bernadette Lawrie from Operation Signature said: “We are delighted that we will be able to help some of our most vulnerable residents by installing these devices.
“Every day I see examples of just how damaging telephone fraud can be, both emotionally and financially, and this is one of a number of measures that can help prevent this type of crime.”
Since Operation Signature was launched in 2014, it has been found that scam fraudsters persistently target victims identified as vulnerable.
Telephone fraud is the most prolific method and across Sussex, between August and October 2015, telephone scam fraud represented 56.7 per cent of all reports under Operation Signature.
The Force is working closely with partner agencies Trading Standards, Adult Social Care, Neighbourhood Watch and the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s Elders Commission to ensure the most vulnerable victims are identified and protected.
For more information about call blockers visit www.truecall.co.uk or call 0800 0336 339.
Further information about Operation Signature can be found at www.sussex.police.uk/help-centre/ask-us/fraud,-scams-and-financial-issues/what-is-operation-signature.
If you or someone you know is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud or scams call Sussex Police on 101 or visit www.sussex.police.uk.
If you need to report a scam or fraud, you can do so by contacting Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraudor by calling 0300 123 2040.
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