Category: Cold Calls

Dealing with telephone cold callers

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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Stop Unwanted Robo Calls

Robocalls are the unwanted automated calls that you get, mostly from scammers and spammers but also sometimes from Marketing people and companies that don’t realise how annoying their pointless automated calls can be.

Mass cold calling was made easier by use of voice over IP, meaning the calls can be created on basic computers without the need for standard phone lines which cost money and can be tracked.

To some this is just a minor annoyance but to others it can be a lot more serious as they fall victim to scammers.

Robocalls are the No. 1 source of consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission.

There are various APPS that claim to block automated calls.

Robocall Blockers

APP Cost Ratings (out of 5 stars)

Caller ID and Spam Blocker

$2.99/month or $14.99/year for Hiya Premium


App Store rating: 4.6

Google Play Store rating: 4.4


Robocall Blocking

$1.99/month App Store rating: 4.6

Google Play Store rating: 2.1


Spam Call Blocker

$2.99/month or $24.99/year for Android devices; $3.99/month or $29.99/year for iOS App Store rating: 4.6

Google Play Store rating: 3.6


Voicemail and Spam Block

Basic service is free; $5.99/month for YouMail Plus and $10.99/month for YouMail Professional App Store rating: 4.6

Google Play Store rating: 4.3

Call Control Home:


$159.99 for call blocker device; smartphone app is free App Store rating (app): 4.5

Google Play Store rating (app): 4.4

It’s up to you which, if any, of these products meet your needs.

If you have had any fun at the expense of cold callers, spammers and the like – do let me know, by email.

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Nuisance Call Bosses Fined Up to £500,000

Estimates by telecoms regulator Ofcom show British consumers were bombarded with 3.9 billion nuisance phone calls and texts in 2018.

Company directors whose firms make unsolicited nuisance calls are now directly liable and could face fines of up to £500,000 under recent legislation from the Information Commissioner (ICO).

In the past some company directors had avoided company penalties for nuisance calls by going bankrupt and then starting a new firm under a different name. Once a company has been dissolved any penalties cannot be collectable.

Previously, it was only the businesses themselves that were liable for fines of up to £500,000 rather than individuals.

Andy Curry, of the nuisance call enforcement team at the ICO, said “It will mean we can recover the fine more easily and also make it much harder for unscrupulous operators to set up in business again.”

Last year, the ICO issued 26 penalties totalling £3.28 million for breaches of electronic marketing laws relating to nuisance calls and spam text messages, along with 10 enforcement notices.

Minister for digital and creative industries Margot James said: “We are determined to stamp this menace out and this new law is the latest in a series of measures to rid society of the plague of nuisance calls.”

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

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