Council first to use high-tech cameras to snare bogus callers
Posted on 8 Feb 2019
An innovative camera system could soon catch out bogus workers targeting North Ayrshire’s most vulnerable residents.
The Council is the first in the UK to use innovative wireless technology that, when installed at properties, will provide live 24-hour footage, viewable remotely on the mobile phones of the Trading Standards team.
They have already installed the system at the home of an elderly resident who has Alzheimer's, and has been duped by bogus callers three times in the space of a few months.
Most recently she returned home from a trip to the shops to find two men in her back garden. They claimed they had carried out essential repair works on her lawn – and duly asked her for £90. The woman – in her 80s – paid out the money. No work had been done.
The cameras are installed outside her front and back door – along with a video recording device in the living room window – which provide footage and sound, via an app on mobile phones, for the watching Trading Standards team.
Protective Services Manager, Scott McKenzie said: “Bogus callers prey on our most vulnerable residents. What they do is absolutely unacceptable. They repeatedly make ever increasing demands for more and more money, for work which is either not done, or, is of such a standard, that it will cost even more money to get the job done properly by a reputable trades person.
“This lady is extremely vulnerable. She’s a lovely woman, kind-hearted, but struggles with her memory, and is someone that these people wait to go out, and then target. It doesn’t really get much lower than that.
“She and her family deserve for her to live in peace and this new piece of kit will help. We have put signs outside her house, to deter the bogus callers. If they do call, the equipment will then detect them and provide us with all the evidence we need to get a conviction, without relying on the victim to give evidence.
“The footage is very, very clear and we get regular notifications when someone goes to the door or goes round the back. We do not need to constantly monitor the live coverage, as the system alerts us, and constantly records .
“It’s also reassuring for her family too.”
The ladies’ son, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Mum lives on her own, she has good neighbours but I am her nearest relative and I live in Glasgow when she’s in Ayrshire. I can’t be there all the time.
“She’s very stoic and these incidents probably upset me more than they do her.
“But she should be able to live independently.
“The cameras allow her to do that.”
The footage goes on to a cloud system, so is secure and safe even if someone does try and tamper with the camera.
Scott added: “This is state of the art equipment, previously unavailable in the UK, which is very simple to install. It costs a few hundred pound, but we feel this is exceptional value for money, when you consider the resources that we, and other partners, have till now, been using to support individuals to continue to live independent lives, and as opposed to the cost of care. The lady is happy in her house, and her family have peace of mind."
Joyce Gray, Deputy Director of Development for Alzheimer Scotland, commented: “Alzheimer Scotland welcomes innovations in new technologies that allow people living with dementia to live at home for longer and safer. We wish to stress that the installation of cameras in people’s homes should only be introduced in full co-operation and consent of the person and that the family involved, and that they are aware of the ethical considerations. We would encourage all technological solutions to be as person centred as possible and look forward to following the progress of this project and the difference it will make to people.
“Alzheimer Scotland believes nobody should have to face dementia alone. We provide high-quality, dementia-specific activities, support and care for people with dementia from Shetland to the Borders. If you have any questions about dementia, or want to find out about support in your area, call Alzheimer Scotland’s 24 Helpline on 0808 808 3000."