Fresh warnings as scammer’s schemes become more devious

READERS should be on the lookout for another telephone scam which appears to be doing the rounds at the moment.

A concerned citizen visited our offices on Monday to highlight a con which had very nearly caught he and his wife out.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous said: “We received a ‘phone call from an Indian sounding gentleman who said he was from the Telephone Preference Service and was updating records, or something similar.

“He asked my wife to confirm our name and address was such and such and then said when we registered with the Telephone Preference Service that we gave a VISA number and could we verify that.

“The bloke was so convincing until he asked for the VISA number.”

At this point the gentleman’s wife ended the call and decided to make people aware of the danger.

The Telephone Preference Service is a non-profit organisation which is aimed at shielding the public from nuisance callers.

John Mitcheson, head of the Telephone Preference Service, was obviously displeased to find out his organisation’s name was being used in vain.

He said: “I would like to say this is the first time I’ve heard about this, but it’s not.

“I’ve heard about this in a number of forms for quite a while now. It would appear that with the more publicity that the TPS gets and the number of complaints that we receive, the more companies there are which are willing to take advantage of people.

“There’s a couple of sides to this. There’s a group of organisations which we know of that we would describe as bogus Telephone Preference Services organisations. They might have a website and they might have some people on the telephone to receive and make calls, and what they do is offer you an additional or enhanced service which they say will help you block or stop nuisance calls.

“Then on the other side there are organisations which cold call people on the basis that 85 per cent of the homes they are calling are on the list. They are basically playing the numbers and they say ‘We know you’re registered, but now we are charging for the service’ and they get some money out of people that way.

“We are not very happy with either of the. One is an outright scam and the other is claiming to do something but it is unclear what they do.

“When it comes to giving out personal details my advice is never give your details out to someone who calls you. It’s a different story when you call someone because you can be confident of who you call.

“TPS is a free service and always has been and there is no intention of ever charging for being on the TPS and we are recognised by OFCOM and regulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office.”

A spokesperson for Angus Council added: “Where people are ‘phoned or emailed asking for personal information such as their date of birth, or their bank account details, the advice is always that they should be very vigilant and should not give out personal or bank details, as this could lead to identity theft or their bank accounts being illegally accessed. If anyone wishes advice about such calls or emails, they should contact Angus Council trading standards on 01241 435600.”