Republished: It's a Dangerous World

This was originally posted to back in 2009

It's a dangerous world out there, there's more than a few scams running at the moment. Whether you are trying to crack someones facebook account, or simply have a landline, there's people after your money.

Take the current phone line scam, Some guy phones you up and tells you that;

you owe the phone provider money, and you're going to be cut off if you don't pay.

As 'proof' he invites you to try and phone someone, so you hang up, but he keeps the call on mute. You don't get a dial tone because you're still technically talking to him.

You get frustrated, and hang up, he hears this, hangs up and calls you back. Believing that you have been cut off, you give him your card/bank details.

It's as simple as that, you've been taken for a fool! Now how could you have avoided it?

  • Tell the guy you will phone him back, then call the number on your Bill (never use the number he gives you)
  • Don't give out your personal information if you're not 100% sure

With those two things in mind, you've avoided the scam. I never give any financial details to someone who has phoned me, I phone them back on a number that I trust (i.e. from a bill) and then pay them. It sounds picky, but its a) safe and b) kind of fun!

How can it be fun? Have you ever been phoned by your bank, who then want you to confirm who you are. They ask for Full name and address, Date of Birth, and type of last transaction. How often do you think, hang on, you called me? So I insist that they answer my questions first. Whats my date of birth, whats the first line of my address?

So they claim they can't answer that due to data protection. To which they get asked, is this a sales call, or is it urgent? If it's sales, don't bother, if it's urgent, I'll call you back, and if it's in between, stick it in a letter. Banks especially seem to get really aggravated when you do this!

I don't conduct financial transactions with people who phoned me. Simple!

That's all it takes to keep you safe from this kind of confidence trick.

The scam in question doesn't just target one provider, though it does appear to be BT who have identified it. There's also  a similar scam being run where the scammer claims to be Ofcom;

You need a digital upgrade on your line, please pay £6 now

This scammer also 'cuts you off'. Again, this is a scam, £6 may be a small amount of money, but once they have your card or bank details, you've had it!

Again, follow the same rules as above, and you'll be safe from this trick.

Further information can be found here.