Pest-busters service is set to tackle fraud

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A radical bid to block nuisance phone calls to Cumbernauld and Kilsyth homes has already stopped 1,700 time-wasters getting through to local homes.

But if the pilot scheme is a success the specialised blocking units could stop hundreds of thousands of cold calls, at least some of which may also be criminal attempts to commit fraud.
 North Lanarkshire Council’s Trading Standards service obtained 20 telephone call blocking units to install in the homes of residents who are considerede to be vulnerable to nuisance and scam phone calls.

If the scheme is a success people plaguedby call centres carrying out “market research”, as well as auto-diallers and fraud attempts could be greatly reduced.

The units have each received an average of 61 nuisance calls a month just over half of all calls), or almost double the national average of 28 per month.

“Nuisance calls are, at best, annoying but can lead to residents being scammed out of money,” said environmental services committee convener Councillor Helen McKenna.
 “Our Trading Standards Service advises residents never to buy products or services as a result of an unsolicited call, and to report any concerns about persistent or dubious sales techniques to the council.

“However, stopping this type of calls in the first place can be difficult. “

She added: “So far the results are very encouraging and we will look at how we develop this initiative in future.”