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Scam Callers

Volume 699: debated on Monday 12 July 2021

The Government will not tolerate criminals lining their pockets while causing serious financial and emotional harm to victims. We are working closely with the industry, regulators, law enforcement and consumer groups to crack down on scam callers. Additionally, since its launch last year, the National Cyber Security Centre has shut down over 50,000 scams and taken down almost 100,000 websites.

Since the onset of the pandemic, many of my constituents have been contacting me to report an influx of fraudulent or scam telephone calls. The fraudsters behind these malicious enterprises often target elderly or vulnerable individuals, posing as Government agencies, telecom companies, banks or pension providers. Sadly, too many of these cases result in the scammers convincing, or indeed coercing, individuals to part with their hard-earned savings. Does my hon. Friend agree that we must clamp down on this dreadful criminal activity and ensure that there is somewhere that victims can go to immediately to get help?

As our lives have moved increasingly online, so has crime, as my hon. Friend rightly says. Can there be any Member in the Chamber who has not received a dodgy email or text or even a recorded message on their telephone, which is becoming increasingly frequent? It is typical of my hon. Friend to point out the particular vulnerability of elderly people, who are often coming to grips with technology—many have had to do so over the past year or so for the first time in their lives—and being taken advantage of. He is right to say that we need to do all we can to help them, and through the economic crime victim care unit we are doing exactly that. We are working with the banking sector to ensure that victims are not left out of pocket through no fault of their own. Critically, we can all help the fight by reporting these emails and text messages, and I want to take a moment to say that anyone who gets a suspicious email should please forward it to the email address and anyone who receives a similarly suspicious text should please forward it to 7726. The police and other services will be collating the texts and emails, and when they come from the same source, as they do on many occasions, they will act swiftly to shut it down.