An elderly couple from St Albans who had been bombarded by dozens of cold calls from charities asking for money have not received a single one since the county council installed a call blocker.
Olga Hopkins, 89, was forced to remove her landline number from the phone book in an effort to stop the dozens of daily calls and letters from good causes.
At one point, she received between 10 and 12 nuisance calls a day from companies selling PPI insurance.
Mrs Hopkins said: “It was hell on earth. It started around Christmas.
"Me and my husband were in hospital and when we got home we needed to be able to be contacted by our family who were concerned about us.
"From early in the morning right up until the evening we were plagued by the callers.
“It had a devastating effect on us. I was recovering from a mastectomy and radiotherapy.
“It was making both of us very tense - it became a ‘you answer it, it’s your turn’ sort of situation, which made us feel like we were being targeted.”
Things got so bad that when she was contacted by a cold caller selling a call blocker she bought one.
Unfortunately it was found to be useless, and - at the price of £80 - more money than she was willing to pay - so she sent it back.
Hertfordshire County Council's trading standards team then installed a call-blocker, preventing all cold calls.
Mrs Hopkins added: “The phone is now our friend again.”
A review by the Financial Ombudsman Service of 185 phone scam cases found that 80 per cent of those conned out of cash were over the age of 55.
Hertfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards investigate scams and works to protect scam victims and vulnerable individuals from scams.
In the last 18 months the county council’s experts have made over 1,000 home visits, advising over 700 people and identifying more than 60 victims of scams.
Richard Thake, cabinet member for community safety at the county council, said: “People often don’t realise, or don’t want to accept, that they’re being scammed, so it’s important for us to raise awareness of the tactics scammers use.”