Residents advised to be vigilant

Residents who use telecare services should beware of cold callers who may attempt to defraud them.

Telecare offers remote care for older people and those who are less mobile. The system links equipment at home with a 24/7 monitoring service. If the telecare user’s alarm is sounded, staff from the monitoring service will contact the customer’s relatives or neighbours to let them know there is a potential issue at the property.

We have written to our customers to let them know that their telecare service may be interrupted or cut off due to a digital switchover happening gradually all over the UK. The letter advises our customers what they should do to stay safe.

But, some users of other telecare systems may not yet be aware of the digital switchover, or a potential interruption to their service. We advise all telecare users to get in touch with their provider, which should be able to help.

News reports from other counties suggest scammers are using uncertainty over the digital switchover to attempt to defraud telecare customers. They tell users that their provider is no longer in business, or that they need to pay to keep their service running.

Lee Davis, Head of Prevention & Support Services, Community Wellbeing Directorate gave a stark warning by saying: 

If you receive one of these calls it’s likely to be a scam. We would never cold-call our customers and ask for their bank details, nor would any other legitimate telecare provider.

More customers of ours have been called by other companies, one called “Home Help” and claiming they were from Hereford Council; another company saying that the customer’s phone system will soon no longer work, offering a month’s free trial of their own service and being very pushy.

Both were scam calls.

Lee Davis added:

We received a call from one of our customers who had just spoken to a cold caller. The cold caller said our customer needed to replace her existing telecare system. It was a scam.

Another customer was charged an excessive amount for telecare style services, believing the services were from Herefordshire Council.”

Lee’s top tips for Herefordshire’s telecare users are as follows:

  • If you receive an unwanted call or you are not sure of the number, please do not answer or call the provider back.
  • If the caller asks you about the digital switchover in your area, do not engage and hang-up.
  • Hang up and if they remain in doubt to call their telephone service provider for advice. Details below list all major telephone service providers if you still are unsure:
  • BT 0800 800 150
  • Virgin Media 0345 454 1111
  • Talk Talk 0345 172 0088
  • EE 0800 956 6000
  • Vodaphone 03333 040191
  • Sky 0333 7591 018
  • Gigaclear 01865 591131
  • Never rush into a decision
  • Hang up
  • Herefordshire Council will never cold call customers, therefore do not give your personal details
  • Don’t share your bank details over the phone

For further information please visit Ofcom or Reader’s Digest

If you’re unsure, call our telecare team for advice on 01432 261 650, 9-5 Mon-Fri, or visit our webpage for more information:


Published: 4th January 2024