My phonecall from a scammer
Find out what happened when Tony Levene got a phonecall from a scammer....
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Ring, ring, goes the phone. By the echoes on the line, it can only be a low rent call from an Indian call centre.
I'm right as a heavily accented caller asks for Mr Anthony. Indians cold-calling never understand the difference between first and surnames.
He announces himself as “Alan”, not a common name in the sub-continent. I let this pass .
And although it is sometimes difficult to make out what he is saying, “Alan” says he represents “Your Reclaim” (which has no connection to yourreclaim.co.uk)* and he has good news for me.
Wipe out debts
I pluck figures out of the air - £25,000 for the unsecured card and personal borrowings and £310,000 for the mortgage.
I then expected he would try to sell me a new loan or push me into an debt management service strategy.
But no, I had this wrong. “Alan” instead insisted he could both wipe out my debts and organise a refund of the payment protection insurance premiums I had already paid (his script assumed I had one of these useless policies).
Alan said he would transfer me to his supervisor who was “an expert in claims management and debt reclaiming”.
Before he did that, however, I had to answer a few “easy questions”.
He wanted to know when I had contracted the unsecured loans so I said March 2007. This seemed to please him.
But the next stage did not please me. He asked for my credit card number – to “make sure I was who I said I was.”
I countered by asking the name of his firm and what its website was called – after all, by now, he knew all my details (or at least those I had made up) so it was only fair that I should be aware of his.
“I am not authorised to give those details due to confidentiality , Mr Anthony,” was the astonishing reply.
“Not even a little clue,” I replied but wishing to extract as much as I could from this, I did not push too hard.
What happened next?
So, strictly in the interests of research, I made up a card number. He then asked me for the three digit code on the signature strip. I said 666 – that's the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelations but he failed to get the joke. The 666 is never used on cards (or on number plates!).
Alan then asked me to authorise £495 for an “assessment”, again refusing to give me any details of the company that would assess me. My attempts to ask this basic fact were met with a stonewalling refusal to answer the question.
Curious about Alan, I asked his surname. He said “Wilson”.
“Oh, Alan, one of my best friends has that name. Let's see how you are related and give me your details so I can put him in touch with you. I'm sure he never knew he had family in India,” I said.
Alan then terminated the call.
Had it continued as Alan planned, the following would have happened.
My credit card details would be available for use (no problem as they were false!) . And a dodgy firm would have taken £495 to produce a piece of paper saying: We've looked at your details and wish to tell you our assessment says you cannot reclaim either your payment protection insurance or wipe off your debts.”
The Ministry of Justice, which regulates claims companies, has shown no interest in this scam. Fair enough as I don't know the name of any UK firm. But it should do more to warn consumers.
Find out more about Tony and the Scam Magnet blog in our video!
Award-winning scams expert Tony Levene explains why he's writing a blog about scams and why he is The Scam Magnet!
* If you have been called by Your Reclaim, please let us know using the comments box below.