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WARD'S WORLD: Knowing your staples

I had recently scribbled a column on the perils of receiving telephone calls that inform of a possible upset... in that instance it was a scam call trying to get money (mine) by suggesting my broadband would be cut off in 24 hours unless I gave them my bank card details.

Bearing in mind how not wonderful the broadband is, quite how I would notice any difference was not explained.

However, true to form, I wasn’t surprised to hear shortly afterwards this ‘try on’ had happened to other people recently who had got in contact but luckily they too saw through it and hung up on the callers.

Columnist John Ward (46460226)
Columnist John Ward (46460226)

That column appeared in print on Thursday but on the following Saturday afternoon another attempt was made to ring me with basically the same story line, different person or soft spoken voice.

However, as before, it was from a mobile number, or a mobile digit type number so perhaps it works out cheaper for them to keep using sim cards or the equivalent if one number gets ‘too hot’.

They seem to operate from either a ‘withheld’ number or the above but certainly nothing that can seemingly be traced back to its origins. And there’s another one that seems to have not gone away and is still active, I gather from a friend who just recently had the text message scam via his mobile phone.

It told him that he had a parcel/package but the sender had underpaid the postage cost and he had to pay the excess £2/£5 or think of a number, with a website quoted where if he was silly enough, he could give bank card details. My friend knew he had not ordered or was expecting anything so ignored it.

Since then, nothing either way has happened.

Bottom line is never, ever reply to the text message as the sender will know your number is ‘active’ and you will be amazed at how many more messages you will get.

Just to complicate things, another non-money grabbing type of call has added itself to the forum of silliness that is totally different from the aforementioned scam type.

In this instance I was addressed, or asked for, by my name – scammers so far don’t seem to have that knowledge or as far as I am aware I should say.

From the moment of lifting the receiver a delightful sounding soul at the other end asked if I was Mr Ward, followed by my Christian name and after this minor frivolous thing was agreed upon, she told me her name and to be fair it didn’t mean a thing to me.

Years ago you were just asked for your name and address but over time your date of birth was also added with now your gender just in case you wish to buy a new length of elastic for your catapult.

Anyway, from this glorious starting point, it soon descended into farce in basic terms.

She was calling on behalf of HMG or Her Majesty’s Government (you may have heard of them, branches everywhere) or rather a department thereof who would like me to take part in – yes, you’re perhaps streets ahead by now – a survey over the telephone.

I pointed out that I don’t do surveys, more so over the phone, even if the caller is ‘working from home’.

I pointed out that as I have had no connection or involvement whatsoever with this quoted HMG department in any shape or form, so my input would be insignificant to say the least.

It seems I had ‘dealings’ (unspecified) with a government department a few months back so my ‘valued feedback’ was now required, so dear reader you know as much as me.

The bottled up silence at the other end of the telephone was shattered as a few seconds after that useful nugget of information I had just passed on, the dear soul replied thus: “I can call back later if it’s inconvenient at the moment.”

It’s been said that in space, no one can hear you scream but I may beg to differ on that one – please allow me this moment to reflect on that last piece of the conversation:


I thought she is keen, if misguided, as I pointed out again in joined-up conversation that I have/had nothing to offer by way of information that would be useful to her or her department/s.

I then did my “clever clogs” bit by suggesting the normal or perhaps acceptable way of conducting such matters, assuming it relates to the person being called, that it might work out better if she rang first to arrange a time when convenient to discuss the matter so therefore save a lot of wasted time.

The “this will only take a minute or two” can unravel into beard growing time scales if you don’t watch out.

I pointed out I could have been half way out the door, going on to a game of croquet or bungee jumping.

Once again the department bottle of instant silence was re-opened as she obviously gulped some in as she replied: “Have you done this sort of thing before?”

I mentioned that where possible, like the actor person Tom Cruise, I like to do my own stunts whenever the case arises.

This was followed by: “I must say Mr Ward, that you do lead an interesting lifestyle as I have never thought about playing croquet until you have pointed it out.”

I thought “this girl is top notch executive grade material without doubt” as she had actually listened to me over the telephone as opposed to the usual being “in a meeting” malarkey where the nodding dog strategy is so often used before signs of life are looked for.

To further enhance her joy of knowing this, I pointed out the sheer enjoyment or essence of the game is really down to how good your staples are and how far apart they are spaced.

She said this all sounded “jolly exciting” to which I replied that it was all down to knowing your staples, skill is secondary but I must admit I was glad we didn’t get into bungee jumping.

She said that “dealing with you (?) was a pleasure” as a lot of people had told her where to go and some were not nice places they suggested but was really sorry that I could not assist her with her survey as it “might have been fun.”

Might have been?

She seemed really disappointed she had wasted my time but added: “Between myself and you, I think I can say with confidence that once we get this survey done that nobody will have even looked at it.”

I said not to worry as that will be our little secret, oh um, but in the interim just look after your staples.

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