MORE than £2 million has been recouped for vulnerable residents targeted by scams and mis-sold goods and services in the county.

Approximately 800 residents, subjected to financial abuse, in the county have been supported by Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards.

Since 2009, the team have aided those affected by preventing payments to criminals, cancelling ongoing subscriptions for unnecessary services or by arranging refunds.

Leader of the county council, councillor Roy Perry, said the role Trading Standards was playing in protecting the vulnerable Hampshire residents was "significant".

He added: "We know from the safeguarding team’s work that scammers and cold callers tend to prey on older members of society, who may be vulnerable and sometimes too trusting.

"Some victims could have lost tens of thousands to cold callers had Trading Standards not intervened - working together with partner agencies and charities."

The intervention of the Safeguarding Team prevented one Winchester woman in her 90s, who did not wish to be named, from losing £7,863 to a series of cold callers.

She said: “It started with a phone call from a stranger asking 'how’s your health', and then offering these ‘marvellous pills’. I paid for a few, but after that there were more and more phone calls.

"They were very friendly, using first names and talking about their families. It was confusing, and the number of pills I was paying for kept building up. I had to throw a lot of it away. I didn’t know what to do."

Senior Trading Standards officer, Martin Smith visited the victim and prevented any further payments for unnecessary vitamins and pills.

He also installed a call blocker on her phone, so that unknown callers would hear a voice message from Martin and be referred to a friend of the family to screen illegitimate calls.

The victim added: "The phone calls have stopped completely. I do feel safer and less stressed now. You do believe people when you speak to them on the phone, but this has really opened my eyes."

Local residents can also help protect their families, friends and neighbours by becoming a ‘Friend Against Scams’ or a ‘ScamChampion’. Visit