Thursday, 10 April 2014

"I'm sorry we don't do

anything like that over the phone," I told the caller. Yes, when I answered the phone it was the "X research company" doing a "survey".
I put the phone down on her protestations. A few minutes later the phone rang again. It was the same person. Apparently I "had to" answer her questions.
I told her no I did not and not to bother me again. I was still, given the circumstances, extremely polite.
When the phone rang again I assumed it was the call I was expecting and I answered it. No. It was "the Supervisor" from "X research company". This, she informed me, was a government survey and I was required to answer the questions.
I told her - still very politely in the circumstances - that (a) government departments do not do research in that way and (b) I did not have to answer the questions.
"Well, we will send someone out to the house," she told me.
"No you won't," I told her, "If the government wants to ask me questions they can send me a letter. They can arrange an appointment and I will go to see them."
"But this is an anonymous..." 
I put the phone down. I suppose it was rude of me but I was angry by then and I might well have said something I regretted. She did not ring back.
The research company exists - I looked them up - and I have sent them an e-mail. In it I have politely informed them that someone appears to be using their name and they might want to investigate further. One way or another I have informed them of what I think.
I am sure nobody will come to the house - and, if they did, they will get nowhere. We don't answer "surveys" at the door either. The closest we come to answering a survey is the census.
It bothers me though. The "con artists" are getting smarter by the day, smarter and pushier and more demanding. The phone call came on top of not one but two e-mails that looked absolutely genuine - from a bank. I happen not to have an account with that bank. I don't own a credit card either. I sent the e-mails on to the bank in question so they can do their own tracking.
My ISP team is pretty good about screening out spam but the fraudsters are getting smarter at that too.
Someone at my own bank had occasion to phone me the other day. She offered me the opportunity to phone her back but I knew her voice and I was expecting to speak to someone when I visited the bank. I did not have to disclose any personal information over the phone I just had to say, "Yes, I want to do that" and she said, "Well I'll have the form here for you to sign tomorrow."
I can handle that but, if personal details were involved, I'd go to the bank.
Am I being paranoid? I don't think I am.

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