Avon & Somerset PCC supports ban on scam calls

Avon & Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford, has welcomed an initiative seeking to ban scam calls. These usually relate to financial products that don’t exist or offer little prospect of a return. As well of course of courier fraud scams where someone purporting to be from your bank asks you to move your money.

Somerset residents have been among the victims, some having been conned out of six figure sums. Now government are consulting on a complete ban on all cold calls selling financial products.

Obviously you can’t ban just scam calls. However the government view is that with a blanket ban, in future anyone receiving a call will know it is, by definition, a scam. The hope is that this will help reduce the number of incidents.

Avon & Somerset Police have already set up a dedicated fraud and cyber protect team. These are officers dedicated to supporting victims of fraud and educating people and businesses. To try and help them prevent becoming victims in the first place.

Fraudulent investment schemes represent a significant threat nationally with victims losing £750million in 2022-23. A specialist team known as the National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit – has been rolled out to all 43 police forces. However last year alone there were 113,000 known victims of this sort of crime. However Police believe many victims, out of shame or embarrassment, do not report the crime.

PCC Mark Shelford said: “Cold calling for financial services and products is just one of many tricks that fraudsters have up their sleeves. If cold calling for such services is banned, people can be sure it is not a legitimate offer. In turn, we can stop more people becoming victims. Scammers purposely target the most vulnerable in our communities, which doesn’t just lead to financial loss. It also impacts people’s mental health. I very much welcome this step forward to block fraud at the source and look forward to the outcome of the consultation.”

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