Category: Cold Calls

Dealing with telephone cold callers

When You Know It’s a Scam Call

Someone has called you with the intention of cheating you – stealing from you. Fortunately, you realise this and then have to decide what to do about this.

So, what do you do next?

The simple answer is to just put the phone down but it’s very likely they will call back – either immediately or later in the day.

You could politely tell them you know it’s a scam and put the phone down.

However, when you’re polite to the scammers, they don’t give up – they or fellow scammers are likely to keep calling back, trying to wear you down.

Some of us choose to give the caller a mouthful of bad language – shout and swear at them, tell them exactly what you think of someone who phones up trying to steal from vulnerable people. That might make you feel a little better, so why not try it.

Or you could decide to play them at their own game and waste their time.

Time-Wasting Suggestions

  1. “You say my computer is breaking the law and you’re going to help me. Thank you. I’ll just get my glasses” and leave the caller hanging on till they get bored and give up. Any repeat callers – use the same trick till they give up.
  2. Act excited and really interested. Then tell them to just wait for a minute while you answer the door. Then put your phone down and just forget about it.
  3. Sell them something imaginary. “How about I give you a great deal; I can send you two boxes of my organic homemade candles for ninety dollars and we both walk away from this as the winner” and just spend the rest of the call dodging their questions and continuing to try to sell whatever you want. Usually they give up after a few minutes, so don’t expect to actually sell anything. If they agree to buy something in order to get your address – give fake details.
  4. Keep saying “can you hold on a second?” And then put them on hold for five minutes. Get back on, say a few words, let them start talking, then say “oh dear, can you hang on again? Be right back”. Keep repeating till they give up.
  5. If you tell them you just have to go get your credit card – they will hang on for longer before giving up.
  6. Jack says he usually just start talking to them about really weird but totally made up personal problems.
  7. Acting dumb can be fun – ‘I don’t understand’ repeated each time they ask you a question can really drive the caller mad.

Be creative and really waste their time.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Deal with Cold Callers by Questioning

We all get fed up with cold callers – trying to get us to buy products and services we have no interest in or the criminals attempting to get personal information, tricking, lying and conning for their living.

You can slam the phone down or decide to have a bit of fun at their expense and waste their time as they waste yours.

The cold callers expect to make a connection with you by asking simple opening questions such as ‘How are you today?’ then moving on to getting your personal details and/or convincing you to buy something or transfer money to them etc.

Cold callers have a script to follow – their set of questions and expected answers and if you behave unexpectedly – they don’t know what to do and will often give up i.e. put the phone down.

There are endless things you can do to confuse them, such as

  1. Keep a take-away menu by the phone and start reading it out – place an order and ignore anything they say – just keep reading it out. E.g. I’d like to order 3 spring rolls followed by the Peking Duck with egg fried rice and 2 portions of crispy noodles and some of that seaweed stuff . Plus … and so on.
  2. Say pardon to everything and just keep saying that when asked anything
  3. Say ‘I don’t speak English’ to whatever they ask
  4. Invent your own religion and try hard to convert them. I’m glad you called today as I have the good news of the 3rd coming of Quixacoatl to tell you about. Now, Quixacoatl created the earth in 5 minutes and he’s due back tomorrow to collect all of the believers. And so on.
  5. Accuse them of breaking into your garden and damaging your flowers. Claim you know it’s them. The more ridiculous your story the better.
  6. Say Thank you for calling the PPI hotline – we can get your thousands of pounds back. I just need you name, address and bank details first. You’ll hear the phone slam down
  7. In these days of Coronavirus, accuse them of breaking the restrictions by not wearing a mask on the phone. They cannot prove otherwise.

Any unexpected behaviour will do the trick – so confuse them.

Or you can confuse them with genuine questions

So, you could for example, tell them you are busy at the moment but will call them back at home that evening and ask for their home phone number.  You wont get it – unless they fancy you of course.

If they say they can’t give out a home number then that leads in to the comment  “I presume  you don’t want anyone bothering you at home, right? Now you know how I feel!”

Or how about this example:-

“while I’ve got you on the line, I’ll just ask you a couple of very brief questions?

Where are you based?

Who do you work for?

What computer systems do you use?

What is your name?

What is the name of your manager?

It’s amazing how people who want to know so much about you are so unwilling to give you information about themselves.

So, annoy the cold callers by asking them personal questions they don’t want to answer.

If you have any good ways to get rid of the cold callers or have fun at their expense – do let me know, by email.

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Surrey Broadband Scam

Surrey Police are urging people to be wary of phone calls leading to scams and victims have recorded more than £180,000 in losses to these scams within months.

e.g. an elderly lady from Surrey was phoned by a man claiming to be from BT and he had called to warn her that they were going to turn her Internet connection off for 24 hours  for improvements.

He directed her to a website to download some test software and informed her that compensation would be paid. He just needed her bank details to make the transfer. With that information, the scam moved up a gear and he convinced her to transfer all the money in her account to one he controlled.

The Police warn that these callers target the elderly and will take any money they can get.

They also warn everyone to be careful on receiving an unsolicited call-

  • Do not give financial details to anyone by phone
  • Do not make payment for a service you did not request
  • Do not allow anyone to have remote access to your computer
  • Trust your instincts – if unsure then end the conversation

If you have any experiences with such scams do let me know, by email.

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Who Makes Cold Calls

Claims management companies (CMCs) make most of the cold calls – PPI, accident claims, investment plans etc.

The insurance company AXA surveyed people to ask about the cold calls they receive in 2018

The biggest subjects for cold calls were PPI, accidents in public places, accidents in the workplace and motor insurance claims.

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 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 less than 10 per cent charge 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.

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The Most Common Phone Scams

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau estimate that around one third of all fraud is carried out by telephone.

The most common phone scams are:-

  1. Computer Support Scam
  2. A Fraud Investigation
  3. An Investment Opportunity

e.g. A phone call telling you that your computer has a problem or is being used by hackers or has been sending out spam emails or anything similar will worry people and then the scammer claims to have the solution. The scammer normally poses as a worker at Microsoft or Virgin Broadband or Apple or BT or similar well known company. The caller offers a solution to the problem – at a price of course. If allowed access to your company they will steal whatever confidential information they can get.

Computer support companies will never phone you like this.

Fraud investigation scams calls are usually made by scammers claiming to be HMRC or Metropolitan Police or the FBI.  They talk about some kind of threat or illegal activity, but the authorities never make such calls. The scammers want to frighten you then force you to pay a fine.

Callers offering investment opportunities are wide ranging and always scams as no reputable investment business would cold call people they know nothing about. Never trust a caller’s sales pitch without verifying it.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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The Two Stage BT Call Scam

We’ve all had the cold callers trying to make us believe they are from BT or Talk Talk or Virgin and wanting to help with problems on the line or about a supposedly unpaid bill or about hacking etc.  Total lies of course.

This latest scam takes things one stage further.

It starts with those usual callers – sometimes by a person and sometime automated calls.

e.g. “Hello, I’m calling from BT to warn you about suspicious activity on your Internet line”.

If you don’t fall for that scam, then you get a call from someone claiming to be from BT to try to sort out this problem of unwanted callers, for you. They may be able to quote your name and address or other confidential information to make you believe they are genuine.

Then the caller asks for proof of your identity – maybe your bank details  or birth date etc.

It’s a phishing scam – the scammer is trying  to get enough of your confidential information to be able to sell it to identity thieves.

Be wary of unexpected callers and if they claim to be from your supplier – make sure to verify that and do not trust that just because they know one fact about you, they must be genuine. Not true.

If you have any experiences with these kinds of callers – do let me know, by email.

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