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Nov 04

Get your own back – cold call revenge!

Reading Time: 5 mins

Fraudsters are finding new ways to part us from our cash by pretending to be legitimate salespeople on the phone, on the internet and through the post. And that’s as well as the nuisance calls, emails and letters we get from genuine companies that are annoying in themselves. So what can you do to stop these coming through, and how can you get your own back on the persistent ones? Its time for some cold call revenge!

Stop getting marketing phone calls

Stop nuisance calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service online or phone them on 0845 070 0707. Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, it’s illegal to make unsolicited marketing calls to anyone registered with the TPS. Any poor fool (in the UK at least) who does has to pay a large fine for even one call, so you only have to tell them that you’ve registered to get them scurrying off the phone.

However, if it is a ‘market research’ call, these are not covered in the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. So, if you want to stop receiving these calls then tell them to remove your details from their call list.

 

Stop getting marketing letters

moneymagpie_Get your own back - cold call revenge!_junk-mailEven though we’re not out of the recession yet, millions of sales letters are going out all the time to UK consumers, offering loans, credit cards and so on. Then there are missives from plumbers, photo developers, cleaning companies, catalogue companies and local food producers which are all adding to world deforestation. There’s been more bad news recently as Royal Mail has announced it will place barcodes on letters so the sender can be alerted when it’s been received. Sadly, this has opened the door to marketing companies who can use this information to conduct follow-up calls and texts once they know their advert has arrived. If you don’t want all this junk you can stop it – or the majority of it anyway – by registering on certain lists:

  • Stop mounds of junk mail by registering with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) online or by calling 0845 703 4599.
  • Stop unwanted faxes by putting your fax number in the Fax Preference Service (FPS).

Say no to spam!

Spam, and the viruses that they sometimes carry, can make receiving emails a misery. However, there are ways to avoid it, or at least cut it down to a manageable level:

  • Never reply to spam emails – it only makes your address more valuable to spammers. Don’t try to ‘unsubscribe’ either as that will just tell them you exist.
  • Don’t open any unexpected attachments, especially from unknown sources.moneymagpie_Get your own back - cold call revenge!_spam-can
  • Don’t put your email address on websites (even your own). If you need to put a contact email either put it in JavaScript or write it out in this way ‘name at moneymagpie dot com’.
  • If your email provider has a ‘spam’ button, use it when you get missives that you know are unwanted and unrequested.
  • Get yourself some ‘disposable’ email addresses. Several companies now do them. You set up an email address and as soon as it receives spam you switch to another one in the same ‘suite’. An article on About.com gives a list of some of the main providers of this service.
  • If unsolicited emails seem to come from a familiar source (i.e. eBay, Amazon etc)  requesting personal details, don’t follow the link. Log on in your usual way using your browser.
  • Get a good firewall and a strong anti-virus system. There are various options on the market and some are free. AVG, for example, does a good, free version that you can download (although, of course they will try to persuade you to go for their souped-up, paid-for version). For just under £20 you can get a Norton AntiVirus programme to give you full internet security. McAfee are offering their Internet Security Suite (which stops spam, they claim) for £24.99 right now.

Cold Call Revenge Time!

Even if you have put into practice all the tips above, you could still end up getting sales calls or mail from companies registered outside of the UK. So what do you do about those? You get your revenge of course! Try these tips for getting your own back on the annoying, and sometimes criminal, sellers:

  • For cold callers…

Try these three little words: “Hold on, please…” Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler-room sales would grind to a halt (we hope). Then when you eventually hear BT’s ‘beep-beep-beep’ tone, you know it’s time to go back and hang up your handset.

You have efficiently completed your cold call revenge task.

  • For even more annoying, computerised calls…

moneymagpie_Get your own back - cold call revenge!_telephone-handsetDo you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end? This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone. This technique is then used to determine the best time of day for a ‘real’ salesperson to call back and get someone at home. Once you answer,  if you notice there’s no one there, immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, six or seven times, as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialled the call and it kicks your number out of their system. Try it – it’s better than just swearing. N.B. Do listen to the first few words of the message, though. Some credit card providers are now contacting their customers this way if they suspect that someone is using their card fraudulently. If this is your bank or credit card provider, don’t hang up. Do make sure it’s genuine, though, as fraudsters will quickly be catching on to this and will start setting up dodgy computerised calls purporting to be from your bank. Typical!

  • For wasteful, forest-destroying, ‘pre-approved’ letters from financial companies…

When you get these, do not throw away the return envelope. Most of them come with prepaid return envelopes and it costs them more than the regular postage if, and when, they are returned. It costs them nothing, though, if you throw them away. So, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these postage-prepaid return envelopes? Send an advert for your local builder to Barclays. Send a pizza coupon to Capital One, in case their canteen packs up. You get the idea. If you didn’t get anything else that day, then just send them some leaves from your garden, or a shopping list. Give them something to think about. If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn’t on anything you return. You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! It still costs them, and it is their envelope after all… you are just returning it. Let’s see how they like getting lots of junk mail, and best of all make them pay for it. Twice!

Do you have any other fun ideas for getting your own back? Why not share them with the other Magpies in the comments below? six_magpie

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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Dennis
Dennis
5 years ago

I tell them that I am a burgler and that the house holders are on holiday and that I have just stolen their TV and Video and was about to steal the telephone when it rang….

Raj
Raj
5 years ago

Receive atleast 4 calls a day from UK Life Style survey. Tried all possible ways (scolding them, giving nonsense answers, requesting them to remove ..etc). It never stopped. Same people, different screwed up names and same questions.
Not sure what to do.

CWal
CWal
5 years ago

I put my son on the phone to them he keeps them talking for ages asking for help with his maths homework, they usually hang up on him.

Artycart
Artycart
5 years ago

We get these calls regularly, he always calls back even when we tell him we are not interested. What does he really want ?

Nick
Nick
6 years ago

I recently got a spam email from someone in the Philippines asking for money. I sent them the details of a very nice man in Lagos who was looking to give away millions.

Peter
Peter
6 years ago

I tried everything to stop the calls.
Nothing works.The tps i useless.
I used to say no to them or even something with off on the end.
I am now having success by saying yes…
Saying it genuinely and booking an appointment,so THEY waste ‘their’ time for a change.
When they arrive ,you ‘re out or hang out the window and tell them to do one!They won’t get paid and its cost them to come.
If everybody said yes ,they would have to give up!

Jasmine
Admin
Jasmine
6 years ago
Reply to  Peter

Haha – like it! That’s like the one where you say ‘yes’ and then just put the receiver on the table and go off and do something else. They use their phone time and you can carry on with your life.

Carol Cooper
Carol Cooper
6 years ago

Would i get into trouble if i blew a whistle down the phone? They keep calling asking for a woman who i have not heard of, i have lived here 23yrs and chose my number when i joined ntl many years ago.

mik
mik
6 years ago

when I get annoying calls I practice my swearing on them as they are the last bunch of people we can insult without fear of reprisals, I string as many swear words together trying to find new combinations on old favorites. I really go to town on them in fact I get less and less calls and I find myself doing it to legitimate companies which can be embarrassing but once i explain they see the funny side…..try it very liberating and by the way I am a priest.

Funny
Funny
6 years ago
Reply to  mik

So you’re used to giving out abuse? Isn’t it strange that it’s a grown up your talking to this time?

Patrick Clarke
Patrick Clarke
7 years ago

The real name for the company behind this is Data Locator Group based in Hertfordshie. Their telephone number is 01923 281700 & their web address is

dlg.co.uk/Contact_Us.

which even has the telephone numbers of their managers & directors. Maybe you’d like to trace their home telephone numbers and start ringing them at 3AM or other random unsocial times.

David Harris
David Harris
7 years ago

I am a Christian, so one thing I often do is to send them evangelism leaflets. Some companies require their receiving staff to read the incoming mail (in case of liability) so this performs the double duty of getting the Gospel out too.

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