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RCT Trading Standards – safeguarding work with vulnerable residents

Written by on 21st April 2020

The Council’s Trading Standards department is undertaking significant work to protect residents from Coronavirus-related scams, including additional safeguarding exercises with those who are particularly vulnerable.

Since the current Coronavirus national emergency started, scammers have been targeting residents through a number of methods – including phone, email and text message. RCT Trading Standards has advised that the number of scams is increasing almost daily, urging all residents to be particularly vigilant. 

Regular updates about the latest scams are being posted on Facebook (@RCTTradingStandards), while advice and training is also available on the Friends Against Scams website –https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/. If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, you should report it to the national reporting centreAction Fraud – https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.

One of the important activities RCT Trading Standards is now undertaking is to ensure the welfare of its ‘trueCall’ service users. The ‘trueCall’initiative launched in 2017 to present at-risk individuals with a unit which blocks scam calls. Since the project began, around 160 installations have taken place in Rhondda Cynon Taf, with more than 71,000 nuisance phone calls blocked.

In the current emergency, officers are making contact with service users to not only find out if they have been exposed to a scam and to provide advice, but also to assess their general well-being. Details of befriending services are issued where necessary, to ensure they receive regular contact.

A number of potential safeguarding issues havealso been identified through the ‘trueCall’ work,prompting collaborative action with partners to meetthe needs of each individual. This includes working with the Council’s wider coordinated support efforts, and also through external partnerships such asCitizens Advice, Age Cymru, RCT Interlink and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru.

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Well-being and Cultural Services, said: “Unfortunately the Coronavirus national emergency has brought a significant increase inscam activity, targeting all residents but in particular those that are most vulnerable. Our Trading Standards team is working very hard to share information about the scams brought to its attention, and to urge residents to verify all suspicious and unsolicited correspondence at this time.

“The targeted work with ‘trueCall’ users is another example of how, across the Council, we areworking together to help ensure residents aren’tisolated. While carrying out their work, trading standards officers are also ensuring the service users are generally well – providing information and signposting to other areas of the Council and/or partner organisations where it is needed.”