WARD'S WORLD: Scammers never go away
With all the wonderful things we have in today’s world that now encompass such meaningful and exciting things like flights or missions to Mars while back in the real world, try getting a train from Lincoln to Spalding after ten o’clock at night.
Special offers abound in assorted shopping outlets such as, for instance, a deal on a quantity of lamb chops at a ‘special offer’ price with possibly the option of
re-mortgaging your home to afford the rest of the beast pro rata.
Then there are cruises that start in the ‘bargain basement’ price section that whisk you away initially for a few days break.
Once aboard and suitcase emptied, you will be able to acquaint yourself with where the lifeboats are, ditto the fire extinguishers kept plus a couple of games of bingo then an hour or two on the chest expanders in the gym before its time to disembark from whence you set sail.
The ‘exclusive’ package option is weeks – or months – away that will see you going away on a floating palace of delights where bingo is forfeited as roulette replaces it plus you get better curtains over your cabin portholes – or ‘them small window things’ if you are new to this malarkey.
Once aboard you are surrounded by sea water for weeks/months on end and to think you kicked up when we went into Lockdown: One, Two and Three as you had to stay at home to self isolate.
Depending on what length or sentence you signed up for, you could well find on landing back home in port we have a new government in power and/or the cost of in-town car parking has gone up something wicked.
In plain speak, the cost of the cruise you frittered your hard-earned loot away on could have gone some way to buying a parking ticket – or a bit of one.
One thing that never seems to go away but, if it does, it just changes tact to reinvent itself then comes back in another form that is the scourge of society, is called ‘scammers’.
I mention this because I have had two attempts – laughable and naive as they were or are – that failed although others may well be taken in.
Scam attempt number one: the phone rang or warbled into life so I picked it up to answer and the following is basically the conversation that took place.
“Hello – I hope you are well and your weather is beautiful.”
I said it was nice of the voice at the end of the line, owner unknown, to inquire but yes, quite well to a degree and the weather was ‘cats and dogs’ as we say in such times when it rains.
“I am calling you to ask how your broadband is performing.”
I replied it was nice of her to inquire but it’s in the usual ‘yo-yo’ mode as in up and down but in our case we seem to have a piece of elastic fitted as opposed to a traditional piece of string-like conventional yo-yos.
The line went silent.
I ask if she is well and how is the weather at her end, just to keep in the swing of things.
The silence is broken by my newly acquired, but not requested, social worker as she then proceeds to tell me she has “much very bad news for me”.
My heart sunk; was she going to tell me the combined corkscrew and bottle opener I was given for Christmas, with the ornate wooden, hand-carved handle, has now been diagnosed with the early signs of Dutch elm disease?
Nope, none of that – she went on to explain that my broadband contract would end in 24 hours unless I took immediate action as, yes, she was that very person to assist in sorting this matter out – what an angel, bless her.
As I expected/suspected, the next line uttering from her was: “You can stop this action by giving me your card number details, then I can perform the action to stop this happening.”
I then said it was ‘109’ to which silence at the other end kicked off again.
“Please – that is not the number I require – it must be four rows of four numbers as this is perhaps the security number on the back of your card.”
I reply no, it’s the last card – or reservation – number I had when I was waiting in Argos a few months back and after a few minutes I got the toaster I had ordered.
More of the silence stuff followed as I basically told her where to go when she tried again to extract my card details from me.
This was a scam as it was too obvious to be from anybody who was genuine but it’s a fair bet that others do get the same happen to them but sadly in some cases they fall for it but are perhaps too embarrassed to report the event.
First off the voice – or she – did not ask for me by name, so as a lot of these scams work on a form of random dialling system as I could have been an Archbishop to all intents and purposes, hence the “are you well and the weather” intro gibberish.
In real terms I could have been a plumber in somebody’s home fixing their cistern and asked by the owner to “pick the phone up and ask who it is please?” as they were busy.
More importantly, who did she want – or expect – to speak to as she did not ask to speak to anyone specific by name.
Next she did not introduce herself – who was she, what organisation or company was she speaking on behalf of, what was my customer reference number?
The fact that a lot of people do now have the internet is a way of life in some respects but had she been for real, she would be able to tell me her name and the company she represented.
Telephone numbers are selected electronically at random – I know of somebody who is not on the internet so the thought of being ‘cut off in 24 hours was quite a novelty for him.
Plus he said he would be thrilled to see it happen and offered to wait in all the next day or as long as it took to do.
The ‘get out’ so to speak on hearing his reply was greeted with: “Sorry – wrong number” then rang off sharply.
If the above has bored you, I’m not sorry as if it acts as a warning to those not too on the ball about such things, then I have not wasted my time.
These people set out to basically steal from innocent people of their money and if the above saves at least one person from losing their savings, it was worth the effort of sitting here scribbling away.
Encounter Two took place about a week later, different voice, same script, but I nipped it in the bud by saying I was unwell and we had brilliant sunshine, so brilliant I had to be outside enjoying it all and hung up on her.