/ Money, Technology

Scam watch: dodgy cold caller offers


No matter how convincing they sound, never give your card details to someone who’s called you out of the blue. That’s what Which? member Dev found out…

Dev Raj told us: ‘Around three months ago, someone rang up claiming to be a Sky employee, and told me that, as I was a valued customer, they wanted to reduce my bill by 50%. I agreed and told them to go ahead. The caller then told me that I would have to pay £1 as a legal requirement to process the application.

‘I thought something smelt fishy when they asked me to pay this amount using my credit card. I suggested they should charge an extra £1 on my direct debit, but they refused, so I declined the offer. I contacted Sky and they confirmed that nobody from their office had called. I think I was saved from handing over my card details to a scam caller.’

Our say on cold call offers

You were very right to be cautious. If a cold caller offers you something which seems too good to be true, it normally is. We would encourage customers of all home phone and broadband companies to be wary of cold callers asking for credit card details.

Many of these companies instruct sales staff to make outbound calls to existing customers, often with the aim of encouraging them to take out new contracts. But, if they are genuine employees, they will be more than happy for you to call them back and complete the sale.

We also have more details on how to get your money back if you’ve been a victim of a scam, including information on how to make a claim under Section 75 and useful letter templates.

Have you been cold called by a scammer? Did you fall for it, or see right through their wily words?


I am registered with TPS, so if someone cold calls me they are breaking the law.

If I do speak to them then they have to endure a short lecture about the annoyance of cold calls before being told that I have never bought anything as a result of a phone call.


Mrs. Julie Howarth says:
19 July 2014

I was at my sisters last week, and within 1 hour of my arriving the phone rang 7 times, she kept picking the phone up to see who was calling, Just incase it “Was ” someone she knew. We are both in our 70’s she said oh! It’s someone trying to sell me something I’m fed up of them, the rang once more, I picked it up the caller was an automatic speech, at the end of the conversation it said if you do not want to receive anymore calls from them to press no. 9. We have heard of so many scams, our family have told us Not to press any numbers if asked to do so, as you can guess we just put the phone down, and let these unnecessary calls keep ringing
We are both on TPS list but they keep on coming., what do you suggest ?


The first priority should be to make sure that you don’t consent to a company passing on your details, for example to ‘selected other companies’ That may involve being careful about check boxes when filling in forms. When speaking to people on the phone, tell them you don’t want your details used in marketing. I renewed my insurance the other day and made my requirements clear before giving any details. Which? has plenty of advice on how to report nuisance calls.

Try to get friends to leave a message even if they just want to chat. Most nuisance callers will hang up when the answering machine/service takes over.

Try not to let nuisance calls wear you down. I wish I could follow my own advice here. 🙁


Why bother even spending time talking to the caller? Also, do you think that they care about the fact that they are breaking the law?


I bought myself a Pro Call Blocker from eBay, it cost about £10. Now all withheld numbers are blocked and if I get a sales call or any annoying call I blacklist the number so they are rejected before my phone even rings. My annoying calls have gone from several a week to at most 1 a month, which I add straight to the blacklist and I am never bothered again, and I know that at least 99% of my calls are from people I want to speak to. Peace at last!

Stainless says:
30 July 2014

We use an answerphone and keep it switched on, any friends and family will soon know to speak after the recorded message and you can pick up and talk to them. Anyone selling will not reply, Our lives have been mush more peaceful.

silvi says:
19 October 2014

I receive lots with the same number from caller
6days a week plus my phone message box run
out recording time by this company .Didn’t stop the
phone calls or texts daily which flooded my box .
Grrr! Never spoken to the person on the other end.
Left it ringing even though it drive crazy .end of that
month never heard from them they gave in..
Other menace cold calling caller say’s it will only take
2mins of your time ”Right ” listening i look at my watch
it just past the 2mins i say sorry 2mins over i put the phone


“never give your card details to someone who’s called you out of the blue” such simple advice yet I never understand why so many people fall for it.

I always get a caller to confirm they are who they say they are now, by asking for things like the 1st letter of my mother maiden name, or the 3rd letter of my memorable address.

If its a legit caller, they should understand.

Dellboy says:
19 July 2014

I have two ways of dealing with cold callers.

1 I tell them I will get the person they need to speak to and then leave the phone of the hook. Long time record before they rang off is 23 minutes.

” I tell them the person they want is on another number and then give them the number of a massage parlour or other cold call number I may have collected.

After a few months my cold calls dropped to about two a week which I can live with.

Have fun

Rachel Henderson says:
19 July 2014

I had a phone call ‘from Barclaycard’ which was an automated message about possible fraudulent use of my card. I put the phone down and rang Barclaycard using the number in my card user’s guide to check that the call was genuine. It was, and they asked me about some unusual transactions I had made. I am glad that they are so ‘on the ball’, but I would never use a number given to me over the phone to ring them, and I don’t like the fact that it’s an automated message.

Many of the most annoying nuisance calls are from overseas so not covered by TPS, and some will show a ‘pretend’ local number to deceive you.


Had a similar call from my bank once. Asked them to send me a secure message via their website. When this arrived, I was certain that the call had been genuine.

Cityslicker says:
26 July 2014

To be fair to the bank/card provider concerned, they probably use an automated system for speed of notification since a lot of the fraudulent use will be picked up by their systems, when time is of the essence so that cards can be quickly stopped and cancelled.
This has happened to me, and I called the bank/card provider back with no difficulty. Unfortunately, my card has been cloned twice, so I am getting quite used to the process now.

tonyE1951 says:
26 July 2014

We need a change in the law. Many of the calls I receive from the indian subcontinent are asking for my opinion – surveys/marketing calls. They are undertaking this work for a UK company – the connection may not be direct but if you give these people information it’s a UK company that uses it. If the law was amended to make it an offence for any UK company to use information obtained in this way they would soon stop provided that the defence that they didn’t actually make the call isn’t permitted.