Money Wellness
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category iconmanaging your money
calendar icon08 Mar 2024

Cold-calling sales company shut down after targeting elderly and vulnerable customers

The Insolvency Service recently shut down a company after finding out it was targeting elderly and vulnerable customers with aggressive sales techniques.

 Your Home Care Services Ltd was cold calling customers with their sales pitches, including people whose money was under Powers of Attorney, where their finances were actually managed by someone else legally.

 The Insolvency Service found that the aggressive tactics used were to convince these customers into buying cover for goods that they didn’t need. Customers told the investigation team that the cold callers lied to them by saying they already had existing plans, and that if they wanted to cancel without renewing, they’d be charged for cancellation.

The Insolvency Service has said it will work to remove companies like this from operating so that members of the public are protected.

Protect yourself from cold callers

A cold call is a phone call you get from a company or person you’ve never spoken to before, and they’ll normally try to sell you something you don’t need or want.

They’re not always scams, but they can be time wasting, and they’ll want your data or your money.

These are some common ones to watch out for:

Bank cold calls: If you get a call from your bank telling you there’s been fraudulent use of your account, cards or asking you for your personal details like PINs, this is a scam.

Compensation cold calls: This will be from a company asking about your recent ‘car accident’ and telling you you’re entitled to compensation. If you have had an accident, call your own insurance company by their number.

Police cold calls: They might claim to be undercover and say they’re investigating someone from your bank. If they ask for any of your bank details or other personal details, it’s a scam. The police would never ask you take part in investigations like this.

Computer or mobile repair cold calls: They might tell you your device has a virus and ask you to download software to fix it. Once downloaded, the software will give the scammer access to all of your online information.

HMRC and council tax cold calls: HMRC or your local council would never call you about money out of the blue.

 Scammers change tactics often, and there may be cold calls happening that aren’t listed here. If you get any calls from a number that seems strange trying to sell you something you don’t want or need, or if the caller is pushy and telling you that you owe their ‘company’ money, be wary.

 How to avoid cold-calling scams

  • Say no: Ignore a caller that asks you for personal information, or says they’re contacting you about any of the above.
  • Check the line: Scammers can actually keep your phone line open even after you’ve hung up. So you should wait at least 10 to 15 minutes between calls to make sure that any scammers have hung up.
  • Join Telephone Preference Service (TPS): This is a free service that should cut the number of cold calls you get, but it might not block every scammer. You can register on their website .
  • Screen your calls: Use an answerphone landline or voicemail on mobile to screen your calls.
  • Call blocking: Some phones have call-blocking features to stop unwanted calls. But if yours doesn’t you can use a separate call blocker. Some will allow you to add numbers to them as you get them, and come with known nuisance and scam numbers.
  • Call the company: If you get a call from somewhere asking you for personal information, contact that company directly using a known email or phone number to check the call is real.
  • Avoid links: If you’ve had a text asking you to follow a link, don’t click on it. You can check that it’s a real link if you contact the company on a known number.

Find out more on how to avoid scammers.

 

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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