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Residents urged to be vigilant over digital switchover scams

19th December 2023

People in Staffordshire are being reminded to be on the lookout for potential scams, as criminals look to exploit the forthcoming analogue to digital switchover. 

The reminder from Staffordshire County Council, wants people to be aware of the switchover and what it means for them, but not to be tricked into giving out any personal information. 

The UK’s traditional landline is getting an upgrade, which will see most calls being made over a broadband line. The switch from the old analogue system to the new digital service is expected to be complete by December 2025.  Nobody will have to lose their landline service because of this change.  Communication providers are working with Ofcom, the government and charities to make the switch as easy as possible. 

The authority’s Trading Standards service have had reports of scammers telling older and more vulnerable people, including users of healthcare devices, that they would be disconnected unless they hand over their personal details, including bank details.  Like other common scams, criminals are using emails, text messages and telephone calls to get people’s details. 

People should always be wary of unsolicited calls, out of the blue emails and texts from numbers they don’t recognise.  People should never give out personal or financial information or bank account details. 

Alan White, leader at Staffordshire County Council said:

“The digital switchover is an important piece of work taking place over the next two years and it’s important that we are aware of it. 

“It’s being led by the telephone industry, and there’s likely to be a lot of advertising about it.  Sadly, we know that criminals will try and use it as an opportunity to scam people, which is why we are making sure that everyone is aware of the change and to be wary of any calls or texts about it. 

“People who use healthcare devices, such as fall pendants that are connected to their phone line, may need new devices or adapters when they switch to a digital landline. Customers should contact their device manufacturer for advice and make their communications provider aware.  

“Our message is clear. The digital switchover is free of charge and the council and social care providers, and telephone providers, will never ask for personal or financial information over the phone. If you or an elderly relative do receive a scam call relating to this, please report it to the Citizens Advice service.” 

Officers are also keen to remind vulnerable residents that they can apply for a free call blocker device that will help prevent unsolicited nuisance and scam calls. The devices are future-compatible for digital switchover, and officers can install and demonstrate how they work. Further details are available on the Trading Standards call blocker scheme webpage.

People should watch out for communications from their telephone provider, but if in doubt, contact Trading Standards or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. 

People and businesses can also find out more about the digital switch over in Staffordshire on the dedicated webpages here.