A special unit set up by Dudley Council to tackle scams has prevented an estimated £4.5m from being stolen by fraudsters.
The scams unit, which has been in operation since 2018, aims to prevent people on ‘sucker lists’ – databases of people who have been established as particularly vulnerable or susceptible in the past – from being tricked out of cash by financial criminals.
The people on these lists are often elderly or lonely, and criminals target them specifically because of this.
Dudley Council’s scams unit has been working closely with residents to investigate claims of potential scams and raise awareness of the warning signs.
Since it launched the team has helped more than 550 people who have been targeted. This has involved visiting nearly 400 residents and installing 141 call blockers in homes to prevent nuisance calls.
It is estimated the unit has saved nearly £4.5m, based on the money that has potentially been stopped being lost to scammers and the long-term associated costs of someone falling to a financial scam.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, Dudley Council cabinet member for health and social care, said: “In 2018 we invested £300,000 of improved better care funding to create the scams unit and help the most vulnerable people in our communities from being preyed upon by financial criminals.
“The fact that it has already helped prevent nearly four and a half million pounds being lost to scams demonstrates that this has been money well spent.”