Warning: Are You on a Sucker List

Scammers trade a list between themselves of people who have fallen for scams and it’s called a “sucker list”.

Sucker lists, which include names, addresses, phone numbers, and other information, are created, bought, and sold by scammers, spammers and some dishonest telemarketers. Scammers know that people who have been tricked once are easier to trick again. As a result, these people are flooded with letters, e-mails and phone calls about inheritances, lottery wins, health cures, investments etc.

In 2015, almost 200,000 people appeared on 13 different “suckers lists” that were seized by fraud investigators. Trading Standards said those listed were being sent mailshots inviting them to take part in lotteries, prize draws, competitions and special offers etc.

The average age of people on the list is 75. You can see how scammers target the elderly and vulnerable.

If you’ve ever been scammed, chances are your name could be on one.

How Do You Know if You’re on a Sucker List?

If you have been scammed online and get more scam messages and mail than others then chances are you are on a suckers list and there is no way to get off the list except by not responding to any scam messages for a long time. Evenetually they may lose interest in you.

How to Avoid Getting on a Sucker List:

Ensure you are registered on all mail and telemarketing opt-out or do-not-call lists.

The following article explains how to do register with the various preference services.

http://www.fightbackonline.org/index.php/fightback/17-how-to-fight-back/30-how-to-stop-spam-letters

Don’t reply to offers of money, miracle cures, competition wins etc. If you didn’t enter a competition then  you cannot have won one.

If you are truly being bombarded, consider changing your email address and/or phone number, and keep them confidential/unlisted.

In 2017, sucker’s lists held by National Trading Standards contained nearly 300,000 names.

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PPI Claims Company Fined £570,000

A company which used high pressure tactics to get hundreds of customers to make PPI claims in the UK has been fined more than half a million pounds by the Claims Management Regulator.

Rock Law Ltd, based in Swansea, has been fined almost £570,000 for coercing clients into signing contracts, without giving them enough time to understand the terms and conditions before taking unauthorised payments.

The Government changed the law in December 2014 to introduce financial penalties for firms found breaching the regulator’s rules of conduct. The fines can be up to 20% of their annual turnover, as well as having their trading licence suspended or removed.

Head of Claims Management Regulation Kevin Rousell said: “Our investigation showed that Rock Law Ltd were taking unauthorised payments which meant vulnerable people were at risk of being exploited. The size of this record fine demonstrates how seriously we take protecting the public from this exploitation.”

An investigation by the regulator found that Rock Law Ltd had consistently infringed rules. Under those rules, companies are not allowed to take any payments from customers unless they have signed a written contract to work with them – so that people cannot be pressured into making agreements.

Since 2010 the regulator has removed the licences from over a thousand Claims Management Companies, including 300 last year.

To complain to the regulator: go to  https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-claims-company

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Who Makes the Cold Calls

Claims management companies (CMCs) are the ones that make most of the cold calls – PPI, accident claims etc.

The insurance company AXA surveyed people to ask about the cold calls they receive.

The biggest subjects for cold calls are PPI, accidents in public places, accidents in the workplace and motor insurance claims. Between them, these account for most of the cold calls.

An estimated 12 million Britons are cold called per day – despite stricter rules and the recent Government crackdown.

These companies are ‘bombarding people with cold calls, emails, letters and text messages’ and ‘clearly contributing to be the bane of many people’s lives,’ according to the new report from AXA.

Around half of the 2,131 consumers asked by AXA said they think the regulations around CMCs need to be significantly tightened up.

Possible changes with significant support include:-

  • Cold calls from CMCs to be made illegal
  • A cap of between six and 10 per cent on the fees that CMCs can make, compared with about 30% that they currently charge.
  • Make it mandatory for calling companies to show the numbers they are calling from
  • A time limit on when consumers can claim back compensation after an event (most people think this should be 12 months).
  • A ban on automated calling

A quarter of people surveyed said they felt stressed by these calls from CMCs and 44 per cent were concerned about how the companies had got their details.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, is looking into how these regulations can be tightened.

Between April 2014 and December 2015, the Claims Management Regulator issued 459 warnings, carried out 685 audits, started more than 150 investigations into specific firms and suspended 159 company licences.

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