Telephone call blocking equipment allows a household to block incoming calls from specific telephone numbers. These can be really useful devices for people with dementia, those who are regularly targeted by nuisance callers if they are on a ‘suckers list’, or many other people for a variety of reasons. While some are legitimate, many people receive a huge number of calls from scammers who are trying to trick, coerce or steal from the caller, many of whom are specifically targeted because they are believed to be vulnerable. 

Many agencies, including Action on Elder Abuse Scotland, can offer these devices to older people free of charge. So why aren’t many older people taking up this free equipment?  We are even hearing that once installed, some older people are requesting to have the equipment removed again!

There are likely to be many reasons for this, but we believe that the main reasons relate to loneliness. Some people realise there’s something not right about nuisance calls, but choose to receive them anyway. Imagine, being so desperately lonely that you’re actively choosing to speak to a scammer rather than having no one to talk to.

There’s also a misconception that call blockers will block all calls. It’s therefore understandable that if an older person is feeling lonely and isolated the prospect of losing another form of communication from friends and loved ones will be resisted. We all need to try and correct this misconception as in fact, the call blocker will not block all calls, only those which have been selected and have a history of causing nuisance or abuse. Calls from trusted family and friends can still be seamlessly connected as usual. Even previously unknown callers (perhaps a reminder about a hospital appointment) who have good intentions for calling will be given the opportunity to speak to the call recipient, if the household is satisfied that they are authentic. They have the opportunity to receive such calls as normal once they are satisfied that they are not a nuisance or threat.

Action on Elder Abuse Scotland is promoting the use of call blocking as a very effective tool to stop the financial abuse and exploitation of older people by scammers and nuisance callers. If anyone calls our helpline and has been targeted, then we explain about call blocking and strongly recommend that they apply for one of our call blockers.

 

Help us to reduce the risk of financial abuse, and let older people live their lives in peace without fear of being exploited every time they pick up the phone!