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Scottish Government launch £50,000 campaign to fight nuisance callers

Thursday, September 14th 2017 by Oprah Flash

The Scottish Government has announced a £50,000 fund to roll out call-blocking technology to those deemed most at risk from nuisance calls.

Scottish economy secretary Keith Brown has been working in conjunction with the consumer watchdog Which? and has launched the Nuisance Calls Action Plan to tackle the problem head on.

The plan was unveiled across Scotland with roadshows in Glasgow and Aberdeen to raise awareness and encourage people to protect themselves from scam callers.

A survey by Which? suggested people in Scotland are receiving nuisance calls at a much higher rate than the rest of the UK.

According to the survey, one in eight Scots is inundated with unsolicited phone calls to their landline.

Of these, 86% say the calls are an annoying interruption to their daily life and 71% won’t answer their landline at all for fear it may be a cold call.

Mr Brown said: “Nuisance calls disproportionately affect people in Scotland. They often target the elderly and the vulnerable and have the potential to be very harmful.

“Although there is no easy solution to this problem, our action plan contains a range of measures to raise awareness of nuisance calls, make it easier for people to identify them and take action to protect themselves.

“The power to regulate in this area lies with the UK Government. I have written to the Secretary of State for Culture to call for greater action to reduce the volume of nuisance calls, including exploring a model which automatically opts people out of unwanted calls.”

'Elderly and vulnerable'

According to Which?’s research almost half of all nuisance calls are silent where someone either disconnects straight away or says nothing for a period of time before abruptly hanging up.

Scots reported 42% of calls they receive are for PPI Insurance and 44% are for accident claims.

Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services at Which?, said: “We’ve been campaigning for more to be done to tackle this issue and welcome the Scottish Government’s action plan.

“We now need to see MSPs, businesses and regulators get behind it, so that people start to see a real difference and are no longer bombarded by these unwelcome calls.”

Nearly 30,000 people in Scotland have now signed a Which? petition to stop cold callers.

Ofcom also carried out research on the topic and found 81% of the UK as a whole have received nuisance calls this year. Of these, 36% were silent calls.

Earlier this year BT launched a new call protection service claiming to prevent 30 million nuisance calls a week.

BT Call Protect monitors nuisance calls and automatically diverts them to a junk voicemail.

The service is free to BT phone customers and they can send numbers to the Personal Blacklist by hanging up the phone, dialing 1572 and following the instructions.

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