Scam awareness video from Kent Trading Standards
Kent Trading Standards have released a fantastic video that highlights the risk of doorstep scams. See it
trueCall featured on News At Ten
Steve Smith of trueCall Ltd was on News At Ten showing Chris Choi how easy it is for call centres to spoof their caller-ID. See the clip
trueCall mentioned in despatches
trueCall has been working with the Government and the National Trading Standards Scams team to protect vulnerable people from nuisance and scam calls. The Daily Mirror published the results - 99% of unwanted calls were blocked!
Steve Smith is officially a Hero!
trueCall's MD, Steve Smith, was last week awarded a Trading Standards 'Hero Award' for his work in protecting vulnerable people from scams. Over two million nuisance calls have been blocked in the five years since trueCall has worked in partnership with trading standards, and an estimated 2,140 scams have been prevented.
Chief Executive at CTSI, Leon Livermore, said: "Steve Smith is a true champion of vulnerable consumers". The award was presented in Westminster by Zac Goldsmith MP.
Trevor Baylis RIP
We heard the sad news yesterday that Trevor Baylis, the inventor of the windup radio, had died aged 80. Trevor was a great inspiration, and in 2009 he advised us, helping us get onto the QVC home shopping channel, and assisting us on our stand at the Ideal Home Exhibition. He was quite a character, and was great fun to spend time with. He really believed in trueCall, and called it "a truly Great British invention".
BBC Look North
The BBC Look North team ran an interesting report on scam calls and trueCall's effectiveness
Counter Fraud Award
trueCall was shortlisted for the 'Excellence in Fraud Prevention' category in the Government Counter Fraud Awards alongside our partners - Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, Mole Valley Telecare and the Information Commissioner's Office. The project is protecting vulnerable people in Mole Valley, and so far has blocked over 50,000 nuisance calls!
trueCall wins Queen's Award for Enterprise!
We are delighted to announce that trueCall has just been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Our award was for Innovation, recognising our world beating technology, the impact it has made on many peoples’ lives, and our commercial success.
Queen’s Awards are considered to be the UK’s highest accolade for business success. They are awarded annually by HM The Queen on the Prime Minister's recommendation, and are only given for the highest levels of excellence, and outstanding business achievement. Our award for Innovation is particularly pleasing as this is the most hotly contested category with only around 20 awards granted every year. More information
trueCall featured on Channel 4 Dispatches
trueCall was featured on Channel 4 Dispatches. The programme sent an undercover report into a call centre.
trueCall featured on 'Secrets of the Scammers'
trueCall was featured in the new Channel 5 series 'Secrets of the Scammers'. This is a really interesting new programme that is looking at the techniques that scammers are using.
trueCall featured on Rip Off Britain
trueCall was featured in BBC's 'Rip Off Britain' (starting at 37:40).
Scam phone call recorded
The BBC played a recording on the news of a scammer who tricked 65-year-old Nargess Sadjady out of £12,000. Mrs Sadjady was mistrustful of the caller and extremely cautious, but the scam was so sophisticated that they convinced her that they were the bank. Remember that you can record calls on your trueCall unit if you have one of our call recorder memory cards.
Company selling call blockers fined £50,000
Point One Marketing have been fined £50,000 by the Information Commissioner for cold calling people and trying to sell them nuisance call blockers. There have been increasing numbers of complaints about companies who do this. It goes without saying that trueCall never has and never will sell its product via telemarketing, and we won't supply any wholesalers who do.
Information Commissioner looks at charities
The Information Commissioner is taking a close look at the practices of charity call centres. This follows the case of Olive Cooke, the 92 year old poppy seller who committed suicide following a series of phone calls from charities asking for money.
Launch of trueCall38!
None of us want to give out our phone number unless absolutely necessary, but sometimes you can't fill in an online form without it. trueCall's new free service - trueCall38 - solves this. When you are asked for your number just enter the trueCall38 number instead - 0333 8888 8888 (three threes, eight eights). Anyone calling this number is told that you don't want to be contacted by phone, and asks them to contact you by another method. See more information at the trueCall38 web site
trueCall on News At Ten
Steve Smith, inventor of trueCall and Director of trueCall Ltd was on News At Ten talking about nuisance calls. See the interview here (blink and you'll miss it).
'The voice of trueCall' featured on Eastenders
Maggie Daniels - whose voice you hear on your trueCall machine - is featured on Eastenders as the Registrar at Ronnie and Charlie's wedding. Maggie was also featured in one of Tesco's Xmas adverts this year (sitting at the end of the sofa!).
Seasons greetings from all of us at trueCall!
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The office will be closed over the Christmas period and will re-open on January 5th.
See trueCall in the Sunday Times today (14-12-14)
Thanks to trueCall users Annie Appleyard and Les Clarke for their contribution to the article that also talked about the work we are doing with local authorities in Scotland.
Victim Support Emergency Care Packs
Victim Support is a charity that trueCall has always been proud to support. They are kicking off a campaign to provide care packs this Christmas giving emergency supplies to victims of domestic abuse who have to flee their homes in a hurry. The care kits include things like basic toiletry items and food vouchers. If you would like to make a donation please go to http://bit.ly/1yMxhzy.
There seems to be a new media interest in nuisance calls. We have had a number of TV journalists contacting us asking to speak to anyone who has received a large number of nuisance calls and would be happy to be interviewed about their experiences - especially if they have received scam calls. Please do contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to be involved.
The One Show
Did you see trueCall on the One Show? There was an excellent piece on the project that Derbyshire Council carried out with trueCall. The programme is on iPlayer here. The clip starts 5 mins 30 seconds into the programme.
Make your voice heard!
The Information Commissioner has launched a consultation about changing its rules for nuisance callers. If you feel strongly about this please take a few minutes to respond to the consultation - you really can make a difference.
In 2010 the Government consulted on increasing the maximum fine for making silent calls from £50,000 to £2 million. They got 117 responses to their consultation from members of the public, and we know that over half of those came from trueCall customers. We were successful in getting the maximum fine increased to £2m.
STV in Scotland are doing a programme about scams
Have you ever been conned out of money? Have you ever been a victim of fraud? Have you ever experienced financial abuse? STV would like to hear your story for a new television series. You can contact them at email@example.com / 0141 300 3328
Award winning project!
Angus, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire Councils received an award from the Association for Public Service Excellence for the project they carried out last year with trueCall. The project identified that over 40% of phone calls received by older and vulnerable consumers were unwanted, and that with appropriate call blocking technology (trueCall) 98% of these could be blocked.
BT launches phone that incorporates trueCall technology
Today BT formally launched their new flagship phone - the BT8500. This is the first phone to incorporate trueCall technology. The BT8500 offers four call handling options - 'Allow', 'Block with Zap message', 'Whisper+' and 'Send to answering machine'. While the trueCall Call Blocker, trueCall Care, and trueCall Vi units offer many additional features, the BT8500 will reach a wider market and will help tens of thousands of people control the calls they are receiving.
trueCall featured in Daily Mail article
trueCall's ability to protect older and vulnerable consumers from scams was mentioned in an article in the Daily Mail - read it here.
New version of trueCall launched!
A new version of trueCall has been launched - trueCall Vi. This has been designed specially to meet the needs of our visually impaired customers. More information
Charter for Dementia Friendly Technology
trueCall has been involved in the development of a Charter for Dementia Friendly Technology with the Alzheimers Society as part of the Prime Minister's challenge on dementia. The charter gives people with dementia and their carers information on how to access technology. You can find more information here.
Extended warranty for your trueCall unit
We are pleased to announce that we have introduced an extended warranty for trueCall users. This starts at £10 for one year through to £35 for five years. For terms and conditions and to register go to 'My Account'.
trueCall Call Recorder card
Have you got a trueCall Call Recorder memory card? Just plug the card into the slot in your trueCall unit and you can record your telephone calls. Call recordings and voicemail messages can be copied onto your PC so that you can go back and review 'who said what to who'. Many trueCall customers have used trueCall recordings to claim refunds or compensation when they have been mis-sold something over the phone. Companies record their calls - why don't you? Click here for more information.
The trueCall community website is available to all trueCall users. Lots of people are swapping hints and tips and hanging out with other trueCall users... and you can now swap Zap lists with other people in .Zap files!
Do you have a telephone scam story?
Scam Awareness Month is coming up in May, and the media are starting to contact us about telephone scams and scam attempts. If you have a story that you are willing to share with a journalist - either a scam that you experienced, or one that affected an older relative - please let us know (info@trueCall.co.uk).
Marilyn Baldwin of Think Jessica awarded an OBE!
Fantastic news - Marilyn Baldwin of Think Jessica was awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours list. A well-deserved award for a tireless campaigner. trueCall are proud to have been supporting Think Jessica since 2009 - we recognised that scam mail and scam phone calls were two sides of the same coin. Read more here.
Rotary Club in Fife funds trueCall units for older residents
Graeme bought a trueCall unit to protect his mother from unwanted calls - it worked a treat and made a big difference to her. He told his friends at the local Rotary Club and they have now bought 10 trueCall units and have put a programme in place to protect older and vulnerable residents in the Fife area. Graeme is doing all the installations and asks only for a contribution towards the cost of the unit so that they can buy more and keep the programme running. We are delighted to provide trueCall units at a special price to support this initiative. If you think that something similar could be run in your own area then please send us an email - Graeme is very happy to share his experiences.
Marilyn Baldwin - wins Inspirational Woman of the Year!
Fantastic news - Marilyn Baldwin won the Inspirational Woman of the Year award. You can see details here. Thank you to everyone who voted for her.
Prime Ministers Questions
This week Mike Crockart MP asked the Prime Minister a question about the nuisance calls received by one of his constituents who was using trueCall to monitor their nuisance calls.
Mike Crockart (Edinburgh West) (LD) : One month ago I installed call-blocking technology in a partially deaf constituent's home. This has shown that in the past month 65% of the calls that Mrs Moffat has received have been nuisance calls. Will my right hon. Friend commit the Government to do all they can to remove this menace, including looking at whether telephone providers should be profiteering by charging to provide information vital to trace these calls?
The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend makes an important point. I am sure he has advised his constituent about the Telephone Preference Service-TPS-through which one can stop some of the calls that come through, but it is a real bane in some people's lives so I am sure we can look further at what else can be done.
Unfortunately trueCall wasn't mentioned by name, but the Prime Minister acknowledged the problem, and indicated that work was being done in government to address the issue.
Marilyn Baldwin - Woman of the Year? - A personal note from Steve Smith, MD trueCall
I'd like to tell you about an amazing woman Marilyn Baldwin who runs the Think Jessica charity. Marilyn is a finalist for the 'Woman of the Year' award, and I have never come across anyone more deserving. Marilyn's mother Jessica was the victim of countless mailing scams - competitions, clairvoyants, etc. When she died Marilyn set up a charity to help people in a similar position, and to influence public policy in this area.
Marilyn has had a huge influence on the protective agencies - police, trading standards, social work, adult protection etc. My own work takes me around the country speaking to these groups and I know of countless local initiatives that have sprung up because individual officers have seen Marilyn talk at conferences and have been moved to do something in their local area. She has also been tireless in working to get regulators and the government to change the law associated with bulk mailing.
trueCall are proud supporters of the Think Jessica charity, and I think that Marilyn deserves recognition for her work.
trueCall Community Blocking now available!
Today trueCall launches a new service - Community Blocking. Our algorithms use the Block Reports generated by our 20,000 customers to identify the phone numbers that are causing the most nuisance calls. This builds a community block list that trueCall Call Blocker users can choose to block. trueCall's press release
Trading Standards trial shows trueCall blocking 98% of nuisance calls
The Trading Standards team at Angus Council (alongside those in East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire) tested trueCall and another call blocking product in the homes of residents. Their report highlights how nuisance calls affect elderly and vulnerable people. here.
trueCall submits evidence to the Select Committee investigating nuisance phone calls
trueCall has submitted evidence to the Dept. of Culture Media and Sport's enquiry into nuisance phone calls. Evidence submitted by trueCall and its sister company Brookmead Consulting can be downloaded here, and all the evidence submitted to the committee can be found here
trueCall invited to meet the Minister
trueCall has been invited to meet Ed Vaizey, Minister of Culture Media and Sport to discuss call blocking technology.
A lot of the debate so far has been about the annoyance caused by these calls, but we want to make the point that it is much more than just annoyance for some people - that these calls can have a big impact on people's lives. We are planning to take a dossier of case studies that our customers have sent us - of the problems that older people, vulnerable people and disabled people have with nuisance calls, the anxiety cause by silent calls, malicious calls and calls from debt collection agencies. We want to point out that trueCall is an effective solution for those who are most affected by these calls. If you have a story you would like us to take to the minister please email us - feedback@trueCall.co.uk.
'Yours' magazine highlights trueCall
The current edition of 'Yours' magazine has a piece about nuisance phone calls. When they talked about stopping calls they said 'Only those of you who have bought trueCall have had genuine success, with David Webber of Dorset, calling it a 'godsend' and Mike Wells emailing to say 'every pensioner should be given one'. Thanks Mike, David and everyone else who sent emails to 'Yours'!
Have your say about nuisance phone calls
Following a very determined campaign by Which? the Culture, Media and Sport Committee is planning to hold an inquiry into Nuisance Telephone Calls and Text Messages. The Committee is inviting written evidence from those who wish to contribute to the inquiry, and we expect that there will be a Select Committee hearing in the Autumn.
A number of MPs don't favour call blocking products like trueCall because consumers have to pay for them. It would be good if they heard from users of the technology telling them how effective it can be. If I'm worried about the anxiety and distress that repeated nuisance calls are having on my elderly mother then government action that may take years to become effective doesn't really help me, but a trueCall unit can be plugged in today and solve the problem immediately.
Our view is that elderly and vulnerable consumers should get subsidised call blocking technology - councils often provide free pendant alarm systems, why not call blocking?
If you'd like to have you say then you can send a short written submission in Word format to firstname.lastname@example.org (with "Nuisance Calls" in the subject line). Submissions should be received by Thursday 15 August 2013. You can find more information here.
Yours Magazine features trueCall
The new issue of Yours magazine has an article on nuisance calls that features two trueCall users. Yours is campaigning against nuisance calls, and the Journalist Laura Bradder wants to hear from anyone who has an interesting nuisance phone call experience. She has asked readers to email her email@example.com and has promised that all readers' stories will be put in front of the minister Ed Vaizey.
Why not tell your nuisance call story - and maybe how trueCall helped you solve it!
It has been a bumper few weeks for the regulators (ouch!)
On March 20th the Information Commissioner fined DM Design Ltd - a company that sells fitted kitchens - £90,000 for calling people who were registered on the Telephone Preference Service. The company's MD blamed this on a 'computer glitch' but failed to mention that they had received 1,945 notifications from the TPS telling them that they had called someone registered on TPS. The Information Commissioner says that 10 other companies are under investigation. More information here.
On 18th April Ofcom fined TalkTalk £750,000 for making an excessive number of silent and abandoned calls. More information here.
Maybe the authorities would like to use the money raised to buy trueCall units for elderly and vulnerable people who are plagued by nuisance calls from other companies ...
Government puts pressure on regulators to come down hard on cold callers
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and Communications, said that regulators should "bite, and bite hard" companies who make illegal nuisance calls. See the full story here. trueCall are active in a number of groups that advise the regulators on the nuisance call issue.
Congratulations to Richard Herman for his stunning fightback!
Richard Herman got compensation of £195 plus a £25 court fee for the time he spent answering calls from a PPI claims company. He told the company not to phone him again then sent them a letter saying that he would charge them £10 per minute for his time if they did. He recorded the calls as evidence and made a claim for compensation in the small claims court. See the full story here.
Of course, if you want to do the same you'll need to record your calls - if you've got a trueCall unit you only need to buy a Call Recorder Memory card from our web site and your trueCall unit will also become a call recorder!
£250k+ fines for spam text companies
The Information Commissioners Office today announced that it is fining two companies a six figure sum for sending spam text messages. trueCall sits on the Unsolicited SMS and Voice Working Party that advises the Information Commissioners enforcement team.
trueCall join the Dementia Action Alliance
In September trueCall joined the Dementia Action Alliance, a group set up to address the Prime Minister's challenge on Dementia.
MP raises the issue of nuisance phone calls
Mike Crockart, MP for Edinburgh West raised the issue of nuisance calls in Parliament on September 18th.