/ Money

Have you been cold called about ‘home appliance insurance’?

Ever received unexpected calls telling you that cover for your washing machine, oven, dishwasher or other home appliance cover is due for renewal?

Update 26/04/2021

Which? News: Combating the ‘appliance cover’ con

Home appliance insurance call warning

We’re looking to hear from anyone who’s been cold called and offered ‘home appliance insurance’.

Maybe you’ve given away your payment details over the phone, thinking the caller was from your existing insurance company, but later found out it was someone else?

Unfortunately this is a scam that seems to be plaguing lots of you at the moment, and is particularly targeting the elderly.

While there are legitimate insurers who will cover your household appliances if they breakdown, we’ve been investigating reports that some are fraudulently taking people’s money.

Our Scam Watch reporter Faye Lipson also looked into these calls a couple of years ago, but our inbox has recently received a huge surge in reports.

Misleading and aggressive sales tactics

We’ve been told about various ways these companies are pressuring and misleading people into handing over their bank details.

Most commonly, they’ll pretend you already have a policy with them and offer to renew it for a cheaper price. Some people who do have appliance warranties are often caught out by this.

They’ll then sign you up for pricey monthly direct debits for services that probably don’t even exist.

Others just go straight in for the hard sell, often calling dozens of times a day, offering increasingly ‘better’ deals.

Most people probably don’t even need appliance breakdown cover, as many common appliance issues are covered by home contents insurance.

Shockingly, some callers even claim you owe hundreds of pounds for a policy you apparently signed up for years ago, but never paid for.

And they’ve been known to call back several times a day, threatening legal action and visits from debt collectors if you refuse to pay up.

But the threats are hollow. These companies have absolutely no right to take money from you. The calls are best ignored and reported.

Tell us your story

We want more to be done to stop these scammers being able to freely contact vulnerable people.

What to do if you’re worried you’ve given your bank details to a scammer

We’re looking to gather as many stories together as possible from people who’ve been affected to support this.

Are you regularly pestered by cold callers from these companies? Have you been persuaded to hand over your payment details? Did you get your money back?

It would be really useful to hear about your experiences for our research – just tell us what happened to you in the comments section below.

If you’d rather contact us anonymously, you can can also get in touch at conversation.comments@which.co.uk.

Comments
W Lewis says:
22 April 2022

Received a call today from 01133308719 allegedly domestic insurance company about my washing machine, fridge freezer (which I haven’t got) and my cooker. I asked for all the details of the policy which of course she couldn’t give to me because was only calling to get my bank details so that she could give me a discount refund. I told her to stop scamming people and get a proper job, she offered to put me through to her supervisor but I declined as one scammer per phone call is enough.

Barbara says:
25 May 2022

That’s probably a call center

I used to work in a call center a while ago and I had no idea they were scamming people, and i wanna ask if it’s actually dangerous if they only ask for the account number and the soft code?

I started feeling guilty making all these calls with old people and i had a really bad feeling i was asking questions yet nobody confirmed to me anything even the ones i was working with

And it was basically about the discount for the washing machine fridge freezer and cooker, which some people assume sometimes they dont have so I just guess

I have actually left the job because i had a bad feeling about this I dont want to make a living out of deceiving old people who could be just like my parents
Im still not sure yet if they are scammers if anyone can confirm to me the soft code and the account number if it’s dangerous to take them?

Barbara — It is certainly risky for people to give anybody their bank Sort Code and personal Account Number. This information can be used to transfer money out of the account.

I would suggest you contact ActionFraud and report what you were asked to do while working at the call centre. Use the ‘I am a witness’ button on the website home page. Go to — http://www.actionfraud.police.uk

Alternatively you can call ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040.

Please give ActionFraud as much information as you can about the place you worked, the calls you made, and the way the operation worked.

ActionFraud is run by the City of London police and is secure and confidential. Your identity will be protected and the information you give will only be used anonymously for investigatory purposes.

John – An account number and sort code is printed on every cheque. Many of us provide these details to others to allow them to pay money into our accounts. I would not make mine generally known but I would really like evidence that there is a risk.

My understanding is that confidential information includes PIN, CVV and passcodes provided by banks.

I agree, Wavechange, but there are fewer cheques in circulation nowadays and in almost every instance they are sent direct from payer to payee. People in receipt of direct payments by bank transfer have also had to give their bank details to the payers. Obviously there has always been a risk that such details can be misappropriated by rogue staff in companies but I would say that sort of crime has been relatively rare over the years. Nevertheless, there is a residual risk.

The modern scamming crimes rely on criminals putting together various bits of information that they have acquired to create the necessary data for hacking into people’s accounts. Many people have not always kept their PIN’s, CVV’s, and passcodes as secure as is necessary to defeat criminals so advising people not to release their sort codes and account numbers is a useful additional protection. Barbara was asking whether it was dangerous, and I replied that it was risky.

Bear in mind that Barbara’s comments were in the context of her ethical concerns as a call-centre operative being required to ask people for their personal details as part of what she later realised was fraudulent activity.

Unfortunately none of us know what information criminals have already assembled on our banking arrangements nor what contacts they might have within banks who can open doors that are otherwise securely locked. We don’t know the degree of risk that surrounds this aspect of fraud but there must be some so it’s best to reduce it so far as practicable in my opinion.

I might be wrong, but, so far as I know, all the push-payment frauds and other payment diversion scams rely on knowing the bank sort codes and account numbers so the criminals behind them must have the other information they need to extract millions of pounds annually from people’s accounts.

Thanks John. Rather than taking this discussion off-topic I will start a discussion in The Lobby to try to establish whether there is a real risk in letting others have your account number and sort code.

Any business registered to process Direct Debits can do so by obtaining a customers’ sort code and account number. Paying for services such as car insurance or energy bills would typically require the customer to provide their Bank account details to the provider and providing this information to legitimate companies presents little risk. However, if a customers’ sort code and account number fall into the hands of a rogue company, there is nothing preventing a Direct Debit being set up without the customers authority and a customer may only become aware after the first payment is collected.

Companies wishing to process Direct Debits can do so by registering directly with their Bank, which is referred to as a ‘Direct Submitter’ or by using a third-party Payment Processor, referred to as an ‘Indirect Submitter’. Gaining approval directly with a Bank requires a series of financial, administrative and business integrity checks, whereas gaining approval with a Payment Processor is relatively quick, less stringent and could allow a company to be operational within 24 hours.

The critical requirement for any company, whether approved directly with their Bank or a Payment Processor, is the requirement to provide the customer with advance notice. This ensures the customer is aware a Direct Debit has been set up and when funds will be debited from their account and the amount. In accordance with Direct Debit Scheme rules, a Mandatory Advance Notice Letter must be sent to the customer 10 working days before the first collection date, however, this Mandatory Advance Notice Letter can take the form of a physical letter sent by post, an email, text message OR ‘conveyed over the phone’.

If a Direct Debit is agreed and set up over the telephone, legitimate companies will typically document the Direct Debit Mandate by post or email, confirming the details and allowing the customer to query or cancel the Direct Debit before any funds are debited from their account. However, rogue companies will process the mandate over the telephone and typically avoid sending a copy by post or email. In the case of rogue home appliance service plan or extended warranty companies, by avoiding sending advance details of the Direct Debit and collecting small amounts each month, their hope is payments will go unnoticed and will not be challenged by the customer. This is the typical modus operandi of rogue home appliance service plan companies.

The Direct Debit Scheme Rules provide consumers with a high degree of protection and customers are entitled to a full refund of their Direct Debit once it is established payments were collected by a rogue company or scheme rules were not followed.

What is worrying is the ease at which a business can gain approval to process Direct Debits by registering with a third-party Payment Processor. If a business does not satisfy the required financial, administrative and integrity checks for approval directly from their Bank, it seems somewhat contradictory that approval can be gained via a third-party payment processor.

For a Direct Debit Mandate to be valid, the business would still need to obtain the customers’ name and address. Without these details the Direct Debit could not be processed, therefore, a sort code and account number obtained from a cheque presents little risk. However, rogue companies cold calling will often already know a consumers’ name and address, which might have been obtained from previous phishing attempts or stored databases, so by obtaining their sort code and account number, a Direct Debit can then be set up and the scam concluded.

Banks often advise customers that their account is not at risk if their sort code and account number is disclosed and to some extent this is true, as the risk of fraudulent access to the account or funds being withdrawn or transferred is minimal. What the Banks should make clear is that a scammer or rogue company can set up a Direct Debit if the sort code and account number are disclosed and the customers name and address are also known.

“Payment processors” have been mentioned a number of times recently. I don’t understand their role, their regulation nor why they seemingly pose a risk. It would be useful if Which? explained what they are and what they can do @gmartin.

Some frequently choose to criticise banks when fraudulent financial transactions occur but should more attention be directed to these other organisations?

Thanks Wingman. Roger Pittock posted about the possibility of setting up a direct debit using an account number and sort code: https://conversation.which.co.uk/scams/financial-ombudsman-service-psr-code/#comment-1640250

Since then I have periodically checked my list of direct debits. I presume that if someone set up a DD on my account I could recover the money.

It would be useful to know how often DDs have been set up without the account holder’s knowledge.

Hi Wavechange, yes, Direct Debit Scheme Rules provide a high degree of protection for consumers and if you advise a Bank a Direct Debit was set up without your authority you would be entitled to a full refund.

In the case of Home Appliance service plan companies, it’s not so much the Direct Debit was set up without the customers authority, but that the customer was either fooled into believing the caller was their existing provider or fooled into believing they had a service plan which was due for renewal, when no service plan actually existed.

Thanks Wingman. What I want to explore elsewhere is whether it is safe to provide other people – friends, family, tradesmen, etc. – with your account number and sort code. Many of us have done this for years and banks provide services to facilitate transfers.

Why might it be unsafe to provide someone with your account number and sort code when you need them to make you a payment? Is there any evidence to suggest it is a significant problem? Many you give that information to may also have your address.

It is necessary, as part of responsible financial control, to check your bank statements as soon as they are provided to ensure there is no unexpected activity.

I am concerned about the activities of Payment Processors that Wingman has raised; they seem to be more of a threat to our financial security.

Hi Malcolm, an organisation such as Paypal are a good example of a legitimate and long established Payment Processor.

Many of us use Paypal to make online payments, but Paypal also provide accounts to business customers. When using Paypal to make a payment, the customer is only required to enter their email address and password to complete a transaction and therefore avoiding the need to enter card details, which reduces the risk of card information being compromised.

With the aim of providing customers with various payment options, businesses subscribe to Payment Processing services such as Paypal, allowing consumers to use their preferred payment method. Providing consumers with their preferred payment method will typically drive and increase sales for a business, therefore it makes sense to offer various payment processing options.

Once a business has an account with a Payment Processor to process online transactions for website sales, this often evolves to providing consumers with other payment options such as ‘buy now pay later’, paying in instalments and collecting payments by Direct Debit etc.

Payment Processors offer a variety of services that the Banks do not and become a clear choice for many businesses. I believe around 50% of businesses processing Direct Debits do so via a third party payment processor.

Payment Processors are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, must comply with Direct Debit Scheme Rules and comply with various codes of conduct and legislation that applies to Banks.

Providing a sort code and account number to family and friends for the purpose of doing a Bank Transfer presents no risk whatsoever as I see it, as the person given those details intends to do no more than conduct a Bank Transfer to your account.

If paying Tradesmen by cheque and with that Tradesperson knowing your address, the only risk is if it was a rogue tradesman who had access to the Direct Debit scheme and took it upon themselves to set up a Direct Debit without your knowledge, but I imagine that is highly unlikely. If it’s a reputable tradesman, someone you know or have used before, the risk of this occurring is highly unlikely.

These are my assumptions too. Nowadays many traders accept card payments at your home thanks to mobile card readers.

I certainly find it irregular if a business does not satisfy the required financial, administrative and integrity checks for approval to the Direct Debit Scheme directly from their Bank, a business is then able to gain approval via a third-party payment processor.

I guess the Banks position is that the Payment Processor is approved directly with the Bank and therefore the Payment Processor is accountable for any issues. The business submitting the Direct Debits is essentially outsourcing this activity to the Payment Processor and it is the Payment Processor who manages the process, submits the Direct Debits to the Bank and collects the payments.

If unauthorised Direct Debits are identified or fraudulent activity occurs, this rests firmly on the shoulders of the Payment Processor.

If the Banks advise a Payment Processor of numerous unauthorised or fraudulent Direct Debits, the Payment Processor would investigate and if the business submitting those Direct Debits could not prove the Direct Debits were authorised, I would expect the Payment Processor to withdraw the Direct Debit facility and/or terminate their relationship with the business.

Absolutely, mobile card readers have proved a great way for many tradesmen to accept payment and I would always be inclined to pay using Card in this way instead of paying by cheque.

Kathryn wilson says:
27 April 2022

Was called in february by a company who inferred they was my legitimate company insuring my washing machine. After numerous calls, i gave them my bank details, at the end of the conversation i realised they were not who they were making out to be. I told the lady to cancel my bank details and i would not be taking cover out with them. In april i found they had taken 3 months payments out from my account in one go. I called them, after a lot of attempts i finally spoke to a customer service advisor, who was shocked when i asked for my money back, and didnt want the cover. He was adamant that i was the one who had been calling them, and didnt get it when i said that the make if washer they was coveri g wasnt even the make i have. I am still awaiting my refund. The number they used for calling me was 03333231786

Hi Kathryn, sorry to hear you were misled by this company.

Keep in mind that conduct of this nature is fraudulent and the primary objective of these rogue companies is to obtain money fraudulently. Wherever possible and unless you remain determined, they will always avoid refunding amounts paid. In most cases they will advise a customer a refund will be issued, but will not actually process the refund, in the hope customers give up and fail to pursue them further. If they have indicated a refund will be issued, please treat this with great caution, as often no refund will be issued.

Could I ask if they have confirmed the refund in writing, by email or letter and confirmed when you will receive the refund? If you have not received any written confirmation, then it’s unlikely they have any intention of providing the refund.

If you have not received any written notification, I would strongly suggest you contact the company again and insist they confirm the refund request in writing, along with a date the refund will be issued. Follow this up with an email so there is a record of your request. If they indicate the refund will be issued within 30 days, I would challenge this, advise them this is unreasonable and insist a refund should be issued within 7 days.

If they fail to provide written confirmation and they fail to issue the refund, this is a clear indication they have no intention of issuing the refund. In these circumstances, contact them once more and advise them unless you receive a refund within 7 days, you will take Court Action to recover the money. I would also advise them you will be reporting the matter to Trading Standards because they used mis-representation, which is an act of fraud, in order to obtain your Bank details. Again, follow this up with an email so there is a record of your request.

If you sense you are being messed about and making no progress and would like some help preparing correspondence, I would be more than happy to help. Which? will be happy to put us in touch, avoiding the need to share any personal details on this forum.

liam castagnieri says:
29 April 2022

I was cold called today by somebody regarding renewal of home appliances cover from D and G. She spent 25 minutes with me, trying to get financial details, as the details I gave her didn’t work- eventually I told her I wasn’t going to give her my real account numbers as I knew she lied to me regarding the ‘renewal of cover.’ She threatened to call me 5 times a day- I was ok with this, as it shows she isn’t running a legitimate business.

Although I had a nuisance call from D&G after a manufacturer passed on my contact details I have not had another call, having made my views about nuisance calls very clear.

It’s likely that the caller is not from D&G, Liam. At the best they are making nuisance calls to obtain business and at worst they could be a scammer. I suggest you report the call to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and if you have registered with the Telephone Preference Service, contact them too. We can all do our bit to tackle nuisance calls and nowadays I receive very few.

Dimitri says:
5 May 2022

I received a phone call from an unknown caller who said it was about the warranty for my washing machine. He may have mentioned a company name but I didn’t hear it as my dog was barking. I just said ”OK”. Then he said ”if you have paper and pen ready I’ll give you a reference” (or something to that effect as the dog was still barking). I said again ”OK” and waited but then the line went dead.
Is this a scam? He did not ask for neither did I give him any banking information, nut I am wondering if my ”OK” can be used as agreement to something.

Hi Dimitri, from what you have explained, I suspect this was a scam call, but as you have not provided any personal or financial information, I think it’s safe to say you have nothing to worry about. But keep in mind, rogue companies are persistent and you may receive further calls.

The most effective method to tackle these rogue callers is by reporting the callers number to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), who will investigate and take action. If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to report the callers number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit a report online. A link to the ICO can be found on previous posts.

Michael says:
6 May 2022

I received a call today from 02045792368 claiming to be from Home Care. They said they were calling about the renewal on my appliance cover for my oven, fridge/freezer and washing machine. My oven and washing machine are over 12 years old and I was confident that I didn’t have any extended warranty, so I asked several questions. They persisted and said that I paid for the insurance back in 2020 at a cost of £198 and that they would offer me a renewal at £160.
I said that I would look back at my records for a policy purchase in 2020 and when I said that the lady said that they would send out the renewal documents to me. I suspect I won’t receive anything and that their attempts to get me to pay £160 and/or share my bank details failed.

Hi Michael, this sounds very much like a scam call and a fraudulent attempt to obtain your bank details.

I am pleased you were not fooled by the caller.

The most effective method to tackle these rogue callers is by reporting the callers number to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), who will investigate and take action. If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to report the callers number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit a report online. A link to the ICO can be found on previous posts.

Helen says:
7 May 2022

Just hada call saying I was due £199 refund on washing machine insurance.
It has to be a scam as I don’t have any insurance, and why would they give a refund? She said due to a technical error!

Hi Helen, offering a refund is a further method used by scammers to fraudulently obtain Bank details.

Many consumers who do have a service plan or extended warranty are thrilled at the thought they may have overpaid, are due a refund and will freely provide their Bank details to receive the refund.

If you have not already done so, please report the callers number to the ICO (Information Commissioners Office). You can do this online relatively quickly. Links to the ICO can be found on previous posts.

It seems to me extraordinary that scammers think people might believe a refund of £199 was due on maintenance cover for a single appliance. Our whole house insurance premium for buildings and contents for 2021-22 is less than £130; I appreciate that that does not cover repair and replacement of any appliances other than in respect of any of the insured perils or events, but it indicates the reasonable cost of such cover. I can only assume that in proposing a completely unrealistic sum for a refund they are directly appealing to greed rather than common sense in an attempt to lure the victim and rob their bank account. I have to accept that scammers have more knowledge and experience of the susceptibility of the general public to extortion than I do, but why their ploys are usually described as sophisticated leaves me baffled.

Thankfully, Helen was not persuaded to take the call seriously.

Mary says:
10 May 2022

I have just received a call today from 01212703735 advising that I am due a refund on my washing machine warranty. This guy sounded convincing as you could hear the background noise of calls being dealt with as if it were a proper call centre. The guy asked for my name and tried to confirm my address. All they needed now was my bank details to clear my account. I had a gut feeling that this was a Scam from the very beginning of the call. I told the guy that he should not waste his time as I would not give him my account details if this were what he was looking for with this phone call. He then tried to convince me that he did not have this intention and was aware of GDPR. He also advised that nobody in their company will want these details but will pass me on to his supervisor. The line went quiet for a couple of seconds then the supposed supervisor came onto the phone line and said the same thing. He then said all he needed was my direct debit details to confirm if I am who he thinks I am. ( Isn’t these my bank details? How daft) I insisted that I was not going to give him any details and that if I was due a refund, he should send me a cheque. To my surprise, he was dafter than I thought. He then asked me for the number on my chequebook. I laughed so hard and told him that I would not part with my bank details and that the call was monitored. This statement made him quickly hang up the phone. Please, beware as these scammers would go to any length to obtain your account details. Do not part with your details over the phone.

Hi Mary, thanks for posting your experience. I am pleased you were not fooled by the caller.

This tactic of suggesting customers have overpaid and are due a refund is particularly deceptive, with the sole objective to obtain bank details fraudulently. Consumers who do have an extended warranty or service plan are misled into believing the caller is their actual provider and will often be fooled into providing their Bank details in the belief a refund will follow.

These rogue companies use misrepresentation to fool consumers which is an act of fraud and amounts to serious conduct.

The most effective method to tackle these rogue callers is by reporting the callers number to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), who will investigate and take action. It remains essential that consumers report calls of this nature, otherwise the individuals carrying out these scams will continue to do so without intervention by the Authorities.

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to report the callers number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit a report online. A link to the ICO can be found on previous posts.

Rosita says:
11 May 2022

The trouble is these people use telephone numbers from respectable companies. I did a 1471 call back once and found the number belonged to an engineering company or some such. I know they are scams but it doesn’t stop them getting me to the phone. I was in the loft a couple of weeks ago.
I’ve just had a call offering me £119 back from an overcharged washing machine repair. I hung up.

Hi Rosita, I understand the Authorities have access to technology which allows them to identify where calls originate from, even when number spoofing is used. This allows them to identify the company in question and take the necessary action.

Even when a consumer suspects number spoofing has occurred, they should still report the number to the ICO.

pete says:
13 May 2022

just had a ‘cold call’ from Asian-sounding ‘gentleman’ claimed we’d overpaid for appliance insurance.( which we don’t have), when i suggested, ” You’ll want my bank details next “, he hung-up!

Janet lloyd says:
15 May 2022

Hello, i took out a extra 3ry warranty with Bosch over the phone. Within a few days i was having an Asian Lady calling to say i had overpaid on it and wanted my details. now, i had an email fromBosch to confirm the terms. My Mac is secure and i have never, ever been ask about stuff before this. I wonder how my details have got out, is someone in that department leaking details to scammers ( just a though ). If anyone has any ideas.

Janet — Many companies contract out their customer service call-handling to specialist service companies. I don’t know whether Bosch do that, but any company with a sizeable customer service operation is exposed to the possibility that one of its agents might be dishonest and taking a record of the customers’ details. Encryption is a way of defeating that so requiring customers to input their bank details using the keypad is used by some companies to prevent staff from seeing the details. Certainly not all firms use such measures so the risk is ever present.

Normally, for security reasons, refunds are made via the same route as the initial payment was made so there is no need for the company to ask for the bank details in order to make a refund; they already have it. If a consumer is asked for their bank details in order to process a refund that is a sure sign that the contact is a scam attempt.

Andy Haslam says:
15 May 2022

Whenever i get these calls i just waste their time and play them along. I say i’ll just go and get my card from downstairs which takes up 3-4 minutes. Then as i read out a made up number i tell them i have just noticed this card has expired. I think my new card is in the car and can you hold. After another 3-4 minutes i say i can’t find it. Could i pay on my Barclaycard and then make up all the numbers. They say it has not been recognised so i tell them to give my so called refund to charity. Manage on a good day to string them along for a good 20 minutes.

We have just had a call telling us we are due a refund on our domestic appliance insurance. We don’t have any such insurance. We asked them to send a cheque, but the caller said they couldn’t send cheques at present. We asked them to send a cheque when they could.

No threats, no aggro, the caller was perfectly polite and pleasant.

The calling number was 01216617457.

Looking up this number shows plenty of similar reports: https://who-called.co.uk/Number/01216617457/activity-map

The number that you can see is not necessarily the number used to call you and your number may have been called at random rather than passed on by another organisation.

Sadly, the lure of money would be enough to trick many people.

rod says:
16 May 2022

when I I am contacted by an insurance seller I always say “insurance is more trouble than its worth. I just throw the old one away and get a new one”.

Shaunna Brockbank says:
17 May 2022

Keeping getting calls from different phone numbers 3-4 times every day trying to get us to buy their product/service. They ask all sorts of questions, like: who is your electricity and gas suppliers?, are your home appliances insured? etc.
Then bizarrely, after promising they wouldn’t call again if we answered their questions, they asked us what today’s date is and then hung up! They keep calling though

Mick says:
17 May 2022

‘Home Appliances Perth’ just called me telling me that as I hadn’t made a claim on my boiler in 12 months so they were reducing their monthly fee to £24 or so. I don’t have any boiler cover, so this was news to me. All very interesting I’m sure, but I told the foreign-sounding lady that I live in the south of England so a firm in Scotland isn’t much use to me. And hung up 🙂 I’m usually quite gleefully impossible with phone scammers, nut she was trying hard I thought, poor thing.

Raymond Clarke says:
18 May 2022

Beware of calls from 0121 661 7457. A man with a strong Asian accent called me, telling me that I was owed a refund of £190 (possibly £119; his speech was unclear) on a service contract for a washine machine. I asked him to tell me who the manufacturer of my washing machine was, so that I could verify that his call was genuine. He ignored the question, so I asked him again. He then tried to evade answering by saying “let me give you an example. If I was the principal of a school, would you expect me to remember the name of every pupil?” I told him it was obviously he was a scammer, told him not to phone again, and hung up.

Hi Raymond – Here is a recent post that mentioned a call from the same number: https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/home-appliance-insurance-cold-call-scams/#comment-1651206

Hi Raymond. Its common to see a sudden rise in rogue calls from a particular number. Whether it’s a spoofed number is not always easy to establish, but rogue callers will often use the same number for several weeks or months and once forums are bursting with complaints, they will cease to use the number.

The most effective method to tackle these rogue callers is by reporting the callers number to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), who will investigate and take action. It remains essential that consumers report calls of this nature, otherwise the individuals carrying out these scams will continue to do so without intervention by the Authorities.

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to report the callers number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit a report online.

David B says:
18 May 2022

I have been receiving periodic calls purporting to be from Home Care. They always phone in the early afternoon (I had one today at 2.30) and they ask for me by name. When I ask them politely to “please take me off your list” they hang up which, to me, strongly suggests that they are involved in some kind of scam. This has been going on for at least a year.

Hi David, these rogue callers rarely provide the correct name of the company and instead use generic names such as Home Care, Appliance Care, Home Appliances etc. This is intended to hide their true identity and avoid detection.

If you have not already done so, I would strongly suggest you report the callers number to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), who will investigate and take action. It remains essential that consumers report calls of this nature, otherwise the individuals carrying out these scams will continue to do so without intervention by the Authorities.

If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS.

Search for the ICO online and select ‘Make a Complaint’ from the navigation bar along the top of the page. Then select ‘Nuisance calls and messages’ followed by ‘Spam texts and nuisance sales calls’. Click on ‘Start Now’ and be sure to select ‘Sales call from a real person (live call)’ in the list of call types. Continue to report the call entering the callers number and other details as required.

It’s relatively quick to submit a report online and in doing so it could help prevent others from being scammed.

Marie O’Connell says:
18 May 2022

I was just called by someone claiming to be “HOMECARE WARRANTY INSURANCE”. The operator said she was calling to apologise for their error in taking out a payment by mistake for insurance on my washing machine and want to refund the payment. To do this she asked for my bank details . I probed their source of information and said. I would need more details of their organisation as I do not give bank info..She then passed me to a ‘ supervisor’. I continued to probe for their information and he became irate. I then told him that I do not deal with scammers … and hung up the phone……

Well done Marie, I am pleased you questioned the caller and refused to provide your Bank details.

As indicated above, if you have not already done so, please report the callers number to the ICO, who will investigate and take action.

Ian Hamilton says:
18 May 2022

received a call from 01273031899, very aggressively trying to persuade me to renew washing machie insurance cover. Most persistent and (almost) wouldn’t take no for an anwer.

@gmartin

In his replies to contributors, Wingman always helpfully gives the details of how best to report scam calls to the ICO and TPS.

Could I suggest that these details are included in the preamble to the Conversation so that he and any others who respond can just refer to them rather than recite the full script.

I agree and links would be useful.

Thanks guys, I’ll pass the feedback on. Appreciate it a lot.

Wingman says:
19 May 2022

Excellent suggestion, thank you John/Wavechange/Chirag

Vince says:
19 May 2022

i was called yesterday from 01216617453 from a company called “Homecare” a chap called James spoke with a Chinese/Asian accent, who said they were going to refund me £119 for an overpayment on extended warranty , I asked what warranty to which he replied a washing machine that we delivered to 50….RD .etc in 2018 , well I don’t live at that address its my ex wife’s house whom I divorced 21 years ago he then asked me, “you are mr …. ? ”
I replied ,” No , he’s my son but he doesn’t live there at that address either as he moved out several years ago, ” …he then asked if I’d like to take the refund !! (not my name , but that didn’t seem to matter to him ) I declined and said no as its my son you need to speak to but asked how he managed to get my number ? He said its the number that was given at the time of purchase , he left more confused than I was lol ! So anyway I don’t know if it was a scam but its likely that it was …somewhere possibly !

Hi Vince, thanks for posting your experience.

The number that called is extremely active at present and was a scam call. I am pleased you declined the refund and did not provide your Bank details. If you had provided your Bank details, the outcome would not have been a refund, but instead funds would be debited from your account monthly by Direct Debit. Their aim is to collect small amounts each month in the hope consumers do not notice.

As indicated in previous posts, I would strongly recommend you report the callers number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS.

Anyone who receives a suspect call can simply search online for the number and the one mentioned by Vince has been reported many times: https://who-called.co.uk/Number/2,01216617453

Wingman – Do you know if the ICO makes use of reports to ‘Who called me’? I hope so.

Hi Wavechange, that’s a really good question, but sadly in my experience I would have to say no.

Working with Trading Standards recently on a couple of cases relating to rogue retailers, although many of the affected consumers had contacted Trading Standards directly, others had posted reviews about the retailers on Trust Pilot. There were hundreds of negative reviews, of which it was clear they were genuine, with many making reference to the company registration number, address and phone number etc, however, Trading Standards advised it was not always possible to substantiate or verify online reviews and therefore this information could not be used as evidence in any action they might take.

I expect this also applies to the ICO and forums such as ‘Who called me’. They may perhaps use these posts to reinforce the need to investigate and/or establish the scale of the problem beyond official complaints received, but as I understand it they cannot use such posts as evidence.

Thanks Wingman. I do not know who runs ‘Who called me’, but it’s well used. Perhaps Ofcom should be providing this sort of service and finding a way of working with those who receive multiple scam calls to obtain the evidence needed to take action.