TRADING standards officers in Carmarthenshire have been carrying out welfare calls to vulnerable residents who are risk from coronavirus-related scams.

There have been reports of fraudsters taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to prey on older and vulnerable people who are isolated from their family and friends.

As part of the Trading Standards Financial Exploitation Scheme (FESS), officers have been proactively carrying out welfare calls to vulnerable residents to provide increased telephone line protection.

There are concerns self-isolation may provide more opportunities for telephone scammers to engage with vulnerable people.

As a result, they have been making sure that residents who have been provided with nuisance call blockers, that they are working properly. Phones with nuisance call blocking allow you to block certain types of calls, for example, international, withheld, anonymous, which account for a large proportion of unsolicited calls.

In doing this work, they have also identified a number of issues, one of which is that there are some self-isolating residents who are unable to access funds to pay for essential goods and services.

The team is now working with local authority safeguarding / social work teams and third-party support networks such as Citizens Advice to provide continued public protection and up-to-date advice and support.

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Officers have also been linking in with high street banks under existing financial safeguarding protocols to ensure that vulnerable people are still able to access money to pay for essential goods and services.

Executive Board Member for Public Protection Cllr Philip Hughes said: “Now more than ever we need to support our vulnerable residents.

“Officers have been carrying out a lot of proactive work to help protect residents from scammers; and in doing so, have also found other issues of concern where some residents are having difficulty accessing their money, which they need for food and to pay bills.

“We want to reassure the public that our Trading Standards officers have contacts in most major high street banks in the county and can help facilitate access to money at times such as this, so if you are having any issues, please get in touch.”

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