Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today thrown his support behind a new campaign to tackle nuisance calls, following the latest report of bogus calls to Orkney residents. 

The campaign to prevent nuisance calls in Scotland is being led by the consumer rights charity, Which?, who are calling on the Scottish Government to publish an action plan on how it will cut off nuisance calls, including:

• Cracking down on businesses breaking the rules and holding senior executives to account.
• Helping vulnerable people to cut the number of nuisance calls they receive.
• Ensuring that new Scottish Government policy doesn’t lead to more nuisance calls.

Statistics published by Which? revealed that nine out of ten Scots received a nuisance call on their landline phone and that three quarters had been discouraged from answering the phone as a result.

In recent weeks, residents in Orkney have received bogus calls claiming to be from BT. The callers have claimed that there is a computer fault which they need to access remotely.

Liam McArthur MSP said:

“In recent weeks I have been made aware of constituents being targeted by callers claiming to be from BT. Recent storms have caused phone and broadband problems in various parts of the county and doubtless fraudsters have seen an opportunity to exploit often very vulnerable people in Orkney. This behaviour is absolutely despicable.

“This is just one example, however. Figures published by Which? suggest that nine out of ten Scots received a nuisance call on their landline phone and three quarters of Scots are discouraged from answering the phone as a result of bogus calls.

“Despite various initiatives over the years, this harassment seems to continue unabated and requires further, urgent action. That is why I am backing calls by Which? for legislation to hold board level executives to account and to see Caller Line Identification made mandatory, enabling consumers to report companies of wrong doing. These are moves that would command support across the parliament and with the wider public.

“It is time to get serious about cutting off cold calls. In the meantime, I would encourage people in Orkney to be vigilant and avoid giving away personal information over the phone.”


Note to editors:

Liam McArthur MSP led a debate in Holyrood on nuisance calls in September 2012; Motion S4M-04204: No to Nuisance Calls, and last spoke in the Scottish Parliament on nuisance calls in late September.

Former Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart launched a nuisance calls campaign and presented a petition of nearly 20,000 signatures to Downing Street. Liberal Democrats, when in the UK Government, subsequently invested £3.5million to trial call blocking technology, which could help cut back unwanted phone calls and text messages from cold callers.

Liberal Democrats in the UK Government also made it easier for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to take enforcement action against firms making nuisance calls. The ICO no longer needs to prove that the calls are messages are causing ‘substantial damage or substantial distress’ before taking action against those responsible.

The campaign by Which? can be found by clicking here.

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