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TV programme to investigate cold-calling scams: can you help?
Victoria Bischoff (Citywire)
Posted: 30 September 2011 10:47:24(UTC)

Joined: 08/03/2010(UTC)
Posts: 96

Was thanked: 5 time(s) in 2 post(s)
Every year we Brits have to fend off some 840 million unsolicited phone calls trying to get us to part with our cash.

There are thousands of cold-calling scams currently doing the rounds up and down the country. Fraudulent fine-wine investment plans, boiler-room scams, computer repair centres that hack into your machine and dodgy debt-consolidation schemes are just a few prominent examples.

A consumer affairs TV show is looking to investigate, and wants to meet the people who have been unfortunate enough to fall victim to scams.

In the past Citywire readers have proved invaluable in bringing potentially crippling scams to our attention, helping us to raise the alert and ensure others avoid them.

Can you help us again?

If you’d like to share your story please drop us a line here in the forum or, if you’d prefer, email us directly at and, with your permission, we’ll forward your experience on to the right people.

Paul Eden
Posted: 01 October 2011 09:45:38(UTC)

Joined: 27/11/2010(UTC)
Posts: 10

Many years ago I replied to an advertisement from Craftmatic which was advertising orphopaedic beds in a 'competition'. At least I think it was an advertisement rather than the usual cold call by phone - and I get my full share of those.

When their representative came he never mentioned anything about the competition. He never stopped talking about how fine the bed was and its many qualities. I was dumbfounded by the price and was not going to purchase it at all. I wish I hadn't but strangely enough I did. I have regretted it because commonsense tells me that £4,000 for a bed is simply ludicrous. I felt pretty stupid agreeing in the end but it only takes one moment of weakness to agree! The bed itself is fine, although even though it cost so much there was no back on it, nor a mattress protector. And when I enquired the price of sheets and pillowcases these too were very high!

I don't think there ever was a competition, that this was a ploy to get people to receive a representative to go inside of their homes and talk people into buying the bed.
Rob Walker
Posted: 01 October 2011 11:14:06(UTC)

Joined: 31/03/2009(UTC)
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Whenever I get a cold call asking for me by name (even though I am registered with the Telephone preference service) I say to the caller "Hang on I'll go and get him" and just leave the phone call to expire. Those few seconds of waiting time are all I can do to penalise the caller.
However, whenever the scamming 'Windows Support Service' call, I say "Oh I'm so glad you called back" and when they start asking me to log on I say something like "No, as I told you before, all I get is C: OOE/System Fail/invalid disk register/ (etc etc) "...and as I try and engage them in this ficticious problem the line goes quiet. OK it wastes my time too but I have a larf !
John Hackett
Posted: 01 October 2011 12:02:02(UTC)

Joined: 07/02/2010(UTC)
Posts: 1

I usually hit '3' or whatever to show an interest and then put the phone next to whatever radio or music is on at the time and just leave it there. I guess they may like to listen but it makes me feel better anyway.

Years ago, Everest were bothering me big time so I said I would meet (with no intention of buying). When I announced this after 2 hours the guy was not a happy bunny!
Posted: 17 October 2011 19:41:47(UTC)

Joined: 14/03/2011(UTC)
Posts: 235

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Its all very simple, although it took me a while to do this.

When a mobile call is blocked, or unknown, or form a dadgy looking number that starts 120 or O20 8 with a space,
or a landline is INTERNATIONAL, then simply

ignore it, dont answer.

I had quite a few boiler room type attempts, and was too polite with them

Now I simply ignore all calls of the above types.


Life still goes on, and you are unlikely to miss any important calls.

gordon davison
Posted: 17 October 2011 20:10:32(UTC)

Joined: 15/04/2009(UTC)
Posts: 2

@ Paul Eden...not even a mattress protector ? For heaven's sake man...was not going to buy one but ... 'strangely enough I did.'

Testimony to incontinent stupidity. Sorry Paul, just made me so cross reading that post.
Steve Wilson
Posted: 18 October 2011 10:46:20(UTC)

Joined: 01/10/2010(UTC)
Posts: 4

I used to be extremely rude to these characters, but now I can't be bothered even to do this. As soon as I hear the foreign-accented voice in a call centre background, asking to speak to Mr Wilson, I either put the phone down or just leave the phone off the hook to cause at least some inconvenience. (I did think about buying a parrot to pass the phone to.) On one occasion I simply said that I objected to being cold called, and rang off. The cheeky b...... called me back to try to argue that he wasn't cold calling!

I must say that registering with the telephone preference service some years ago did virtually end the calls from double-glazing firms etc., but this (anyway voluntary arrangement) is of course by-passed by the financial cowboys by the use of foreign call centres. What really annoyed me some time ago was being called from an obviously overseas centre by someone purporting to be a BT representative! Presumably this was 'genuine' as the services being 'brought to my attention' were BT services.

If you want to invest money, buy a bed etc etc you don't do so by responding to tele-salesmen. Even as a very young listener to Radio Luxembourg, many years ago, I wondered why Horace Batchelor was flogging a soccer pools-win 'system'. If it's so good, why would you sell it? Similarly, why would anyone go to a lot of effort to persuade people to invest in a particular, wonderfully profitable venture? If it's so good a proposition you'd put your own money into it, not sell it. The recent TV programme on these scams featured a woman who had evidently inherited a small fortune and invested every penny in a mining company - sold to her over the phone!! How can anyone be so stupid (and deserving of such a large inheritance)? Even if the proposal had been sound, you'd never put all your eggs in 1 basket (case!). Easy come easy go. if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is (Mr Madoff). Greed and gullibility make a fertile combination for fraudsters.

Tyrone Bell
Posted: 19 October 2011 13:47:56(UTC)

Joined: 08/06/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3

Yeah! I got stung by a bee the other day.

£20 for a pot of honey!
Posted: 20 October 2011 01:15:18(UTC)

Joined: 18/11/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12

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I think the best approach is to say "oh he's mowing the lawn, or at the bottom of the garden, or washing the car, or just posting a letter and will be back in 2 mins and then put the phone down. My record so far in keeping people hanging on (and therefore doing a public service and not pestering other people, is about 20 mins, but this meant I had to answer again 4 times to say they are on their way.
The funniest (really-cold!!) call I had was when I was in a an old-style red public phone box on a winter day, and a double-glazing salesman called the phone in the phone cubicle, just as I was about to make an outgoing call myself. He asked me how many windows I had, and if any were double glazed. I told him I thought there were about 360 windows, none of which were doubled glazed, and that I was feeling very cold in there. I told him it really needed it, it ought to be done and each of these 360 windows was about 8x20 (cms!!!!!) . I asked him to phone back later with a quote, which I needed in the next hour before I went out, or I'd put the deal with his competitors. He left extremely excited with his potential new deal, thinking of the commision he would make, being too stupid to realise how small a cm was! I was pleased this was another period where these pests were distracted from bothering members of the public.
robert mons
Posted: 20 October 2011 09:32:49(UTC)

Joined: 09/10/2011(UTC)
Posts: 4

He left extremely excited with his potential new deal, thinking of the commision he would make, being too stupid to realise how small a cm was! I was pleased this was another period where these pests were distracted from bothering members of the public.

that is a good result ! i don't want to see it again !
Posted: 29 December 2011 08:51:41(UTC)

Joined: 14/03/2011(UTC)
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Its very simple.

Block all calls into the uk from Indian and other call centres.
Do it on 31/12/2011

The ISPs, an dmore importantly the Banks will have to re-employ the nice
people with North East or Scottish accents based mainland UK.

Immediate increase in UK employment (bigstyle) , immediate contentment of of most of UK poplulation.

Its time to bring in protectionism across the board.

Its very very simple.

250 countries in the World. make out a chart of imports and exports.
Those that import form us, or have firms in UK get best tariffs etc.

Those that dont, bung from the Germans or French for example and not us, whack on huge tariffs, import quotas and bans, zero charity aid (e.g Zimbabwe) , certainly no phone connection for telesales.

To me its so , so simple, but politicians invariably want to help foreigners more than the UK voters... happens every time.

Call me a Xenophobe but how can Clegg pretend to be 100% supporter of British interests.?

there you go, the solution is simple. Look after your UK neighbours, and block any British Government support of those foreign interests which do not match our own.

I have just watched a tv show about the end of WW1, and the massive debt owed to the Uk by France (not paid), not to mention the Germans. these people are not our friends.

Our friends are on these Islands, in Canada, Australia, NZ.

However, if our govt wont take even a very simple action to prevent these cold calls, and to add to employment by banning foreign calls centres they prove that they follow their own agenda, and not a UK agenda.

Tell me I am wrong ?

Posted: 29 December 2011 09:57:05(UTC)

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Morning folks,

This is an oportunity to have some fun, The boiler roomers I just tell them to send in the post all the propositions and I let my people look at it, after telling the m this afew times they bog off, Or sometimes I tell them I amm Normski from vilnius with my russian gangster accent.

Posted: 29 December 2011 17:38:45(UTC)

Joined: 14/03/2011(UTC)
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how do we know you aren't Normski from Vilnius ?

Posted: 25 January 2012 13:45:31(UTC)

Joined: 23/01/2012(UTC)
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For those of you who keep the caller on the phone, you are actually rewarding them. Many moons ago, having completed my final year at uni, I worked in a call centre. Each member of staff had a 'target time' (how long they could keep the possible customer on the telephone) and they would be paid a monthly bonus based on this. In keeping them on the phone you are only increasing the amount of calls you will receive in the long run as records will show your number as one which keeps the caller on for a substantial time.
2 users thanked EA for this post.
Ann Barton on 26/01/2012(UTC), Guest on 12/06/2012(UTC)
Posted: 21 March 2012 08:18:08(UTC)

Joined: 15/10/2008(UTC)
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Although we are on the telephone preference service list, we still sometimes get cold calls. One day we had two odd (didnt sound like the normal c/c's) in a couple of hours, followed later that day with a call from CPR Global (Call Prevention Register), who claim to be complimentary to the TPS, but charge for their service.

He would not send details by post, insisted that I needed to sign up for 3 years then and there, and - somehow - had the last digits of my credit card, which, he implied, proved he was working in conjungtion with BT!

I do STRONGLY suspect the cold calls were linked to this.

Has anybody else experienced this?
Posted: 22 March 2012 11:34:41(UTC)

Joined: 23/01/2012(UTC)
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I seriously don’t give them the chance to get that far into conversation.

Ben Black
Posted: 22 January 2013 08:38:20(UTC)

Joined: 22/01/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1

Victoria Bischoff (Citywire);622 wrote:

If you’d like to share your story please drop us a line here in the forum

If you need stories, just check this site:
there are so many reports about scam of every discription!

good luck!
Alan Anderson
Posted: 22 January 2013 09:44:05(UTC)

Joined: 02/04/2012(UTC)
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When they ask for you by name just say 'Who's calling?'. Whatever you do don't press any of the keys they suggest. Sometimes they are linked to a premium phone number.
I've done the TPS. I've asked them to take me off the list. I've even said that Mr X(it's a nom-de-blog)died recently and no, I'm not related.
In the end, once I am absolutely sure that they are a scam-caller, I take the Fire Brigade's advice to regularly test my smoke-alarm. You may well wonder why I would have a smoke alarm beside the telephone . . . well, it's a little-known fact that the number of phone fires is on the increase. Yes, really!
As it happens, I can get you an excellent deal on these Special Phone Smoke
Alarms. I highly recommend them. There's a down-payment of £30 followed by 18 monthly payments of £12. . . it's a price well worth paying for your family's safety.
2 users thanked Alan Anderson for this post.
Clive B on 22/01/2013(UTC), Richard_L on 02/11/2013(UTC)
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