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Possible phone scam?

Started by Dana Scully, February 05, 2020, 08:15:36 AM

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Dana Scully

An elderly relative in Westbury had a very strange  phone call yesterday, the person said they were from the 'council' and wanted to know which shops they used in Westbury, they said other things but my relative got a bit confused and couldn't remember what else they said, they said they didn't want to talk to them and hung up. Has anyone else been contacted by the council and asked this question? we want to know how they got their number and why they would randomly pick them like this, we are concerned it might be some kind of scam and would they have started asking personal questions if they hadn't have hung up.

They are a bit worried about this and think that if it was a scam, if they have their number do they have their address, is it worth reporting to the police or would either Wilts or Westbury council call random peopel to ask such a question??


All sorts of organisations conduct surveys for different purposes.

I am not aware of any Wiltshire Council survey using random telephone numbers, but often specialist surveys are undertaken by specialist consultants who might start off saying who they are and who they are doing the work for and then they ask if the person on the phone is happy to answer some questions which will help towards planning things better for the area.

It might be possible that Westbury Town Council has engaged a consultant to undertake some surveys because of the Neighbourhood Plan exercise currently underway.

Retailing surveys do occur every 10 years or so to determine where people do their shopping. This helps to understand what is going on and where more shops need to be planned etc.

I don't think any call is a scam unless they start asking for financial details such as bank name, account number, password or for money to be actually paid or moved.

My elderly mum keeps getting a call that claims to be from Amazon saying that they are confirming that her purchase costing about £75 will arrive soon and they need to confirm the bank details and the credit card used. It has taken me about 6 months of repeated calls then more discussions about the same situation to convince her that it has got nothing to do with me and that she cannot possibly have an Amazon account because she has never used Amazon herself (I have bought stuff for her using my account)  and that my account has nothing to do with her. Thank God, she now just puts the phone down as soon as they say it is Amazon.  I have now told her to report it to the Police every time it happens again on the Police non-emergency Tel No: 101.

Another regular problem seems to be calls to my Mum claiming to be from Talktalk which start off saying that she has a problem with her broadband and they need some details to fix it. She knows to put the phone down on this one as she is not on broadband ..........

Also, there is another regular scam which seems to be about saying that her PC has a problem that needs fixing and they can talk her through it. She puts the phone down on this - she does not have a PC!   Lately, she's been telling me that sometimes she keeps them on the line for ages talking about her non-existent PC and asking them to repeat everything about 10 times and ...

Personally, I stopped answering the land line phone a decade ago and all my calls go to an ansaphone. I rarely return calls unless they are proper calls from someone who at least knows who I am and what I have got a phone for.  Calls to my mobile will only be answered if I recognise the number or the phone's address book recognises the caller...

If I get a mobile ansaphone message, I'll return the call only if they say what it is about.

This has saved me from wasting hours every month on nonsense calls from morons and scammers and surveys ....   I used to get calls from drunk folk in pubs saying that they have videos of me in the nude (this is definitely untrue) ..... or that they know about the porn on my PC (which is just them guessing and having a joke). I've also had death threats especially from really nasty horrible scousers with disgusting revolting accents ... All that has stopped ....
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Bob DeBilda

I regularly get the Amazon one. emails as well that are very cleverly created to look like they are from amazon.

The thing to look for is are the callers number withheld? This is easy with a mobile. If it is don't answer they will leave a message if it is genuine. Or if there is a number you don't recognise, still don't answer and google it. There are sites that will give you information for free about that number whether it is malicious, selling, insurance company etc.

With a landline you can immediately dial 1471 to get the number just called.
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Dana Scully

Thanks Baldy, I think it just worried them as it was asking about shops in westbury so they were concerned that they might know their address as they knew they lived here. They don't usually answer the phone but they were expecting a call from someone else.

I am glad they hung up when they did as my concern is they may have gone on to ask for other details. I think I will invest in a phone that shows what number is calling, for them.

I did ask them if they had dialed 1471 but they didn't think and it was too late as I had called them by then.


Quote from: Bob DeBilda on February 05, 2020, 09:01:40 AM
I regularly get the Amazon one. emails as well that are very cleverly created to look like they are from amazon.

Yes, I regularly get emails that seem to be from HMRC saying they need my bank details to give me a tax refund and also from TV Licensing saying that my direct debit needs updating.

I always look at the email address of the sender (the details inside or under the name) and most of the time its obvious that it is a scam from seeing the false email address which maybe has an extra letter added to look similar to the real one.

In any event, no real organisation is going to ask for personal banking details and if they do, I refuse to deal anyway. This has only led to one problem once in the 90s when I banked with First Direct who only dealt by phone and rang me once to talk about my savings accounts (at the time). They asked for my password and I basically told them off for being so stupid as to try that and that I would ring them on their normal number and ask to be transferred to the correct person ...
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As Baldy said, doesn't sound like a typical scam, and more likely a survey.
Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity.


I love playing dumb when i get a scammer on the phone, hilarious to hear them getting more and more frustrated. LOL   :o