Elderly man on the phone

LGA warns of digital switchover scamming

The Local Government Association has warned that criminals are using the switchover from analogue to digital, in order to scam residents.

Vulnerable residents that use health care telephony devices are being scammed into giving their personal information away, with this including bank details, according to the LGA. These devices are used by approximately 1.8 million people around the country; however they are currently in the process of being switched from analogue to digital, something that is free.

Due to warnings of the number of scams likely to increase before the 2025 deadline for switching over, some councils are taking action to prevent scamming. These measures include:

  • Halton Borough Council Trading Standards team sending out alerts to residents to make them aware of the scam, whilst also providing advice and support to victims of scamming.
  • Staffordshire County Council working to increase awareness of technology to block calls, whilst also promoting wider scam awareness. 155 call blockers have been installed in homes in the area, to be followed by another 51. Alongside this, it is easy for residents to access the technology thanks to the council’s online call blocker application form.

Alongside the measures that are already in place, the LGA has requested that the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology coordinate the multiple partners that are involved in the process of the switchover and increase support for raised awareness.

Char of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Cllr Heather Kidd, said:

“We are very concerned by a rise in criminals taking advantage of the digital switchover to trick vulnerable residents into giving out personal information such as their bank details. As the digital switchover date approaches, sadly we fear that further cases will arise.

“Councils will always act swiftly with the police where any incidents are reported, but we also urge people to be vigilant and help to raise awareness of this crime.

“The digital switchover is free of charge and residents should be aware that councils and their home care alarm providers or contractors will never ask for personal or financial information over the phone.”

 

Image credit: iStock

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