Before we get started, raise your hand if you’ve ever received a scam call. Everyone, right?
CAP is looking to get better solutions in the hands of Vermonters to fight robocalls. CAP is studying various robocall blocking options to protect Vermonters from this scourge.
First, CAP obtained a grant from The State Center to test call-blocking devices for seniors, who are often the targets of scams. CAP provided 115 call-blocking devices free-of-charge to Vermont seniors.
CAP studied the effectiveness of these blocking devices in protecting seniors, who include some of our most vulnerable neighbors.
Call-blocking devices help stop scam calls from coming through your phone line in two ways – many come preloaded with a list of recognized scam numbers that are automatically blocked from being able to call in; the devices also allow consumers to choose to block other phone numbers.
Vermonters who participated in the project reported that the call-blocking devices were useful in blocking scam calls – 72% said the devices were either “effective” or “very effective” in stopping unwanted calls. An overwhelming majority (89%) also said the devices were either “simple” or “very simple” to use. Another key finding from the project is that having a call-blocking device made the participants feel safer in answering their phones and helped to decrease the amount of stress and anxiety that scam calls had caused. You can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.
Second, in cooperation with the telecom carriers, CAP is also preparing a guide to robocall and scam call blocking options that will be released later this month.
Third, CAP continues to collect scam reports from Vermonters. CAP uses scam reports to identify the need for alerts, and to provide education and outreach. Scam reports also help CAP track the number and type of scams affecting Vermonters. Awareness is the best way to protect Vermonters from becoming victims of scams.
CAP also reports the information to the Federal Trade Commission, which has a task force on fighting robocalls. Occasionally, the information can lead to investigation of scams, but law enforcement has few tools to undertake these expensive cases.
Are you interested in call-blocking devices or other ways to stop unwanted calls? The FTC has information available at their web-site.
Our office has also set up a scam alert system to provide consumers with information about new scams and scam trends. If you would like to sign up, visit our web-site or give CAP a call.
Always feel free to contact CAP to report scam calls you are receiving. Our office can be reached at 1.800.649.2424 (toll free VT) or 802.656.3183.
Contributing Writer: Sarah Anders
Content Editor: Crystal Baldwin