This has been a week for scams and unwanted calls. It started with the common annoyance of a phone call from a company which I did not know asking about my energy bills. I questioned why they were calling me, since I am on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) list and should not receive unsolicited calls, at which the caller just hung up. Short but disruptive.
Then there was a second caller saying they were from Car Claims and suggesting that I could claim compensation for a recent accident. I asked to speak to their supervisor to complain about the call, but was told that I could only call them on another number. The caller then coolly gave me an 0900 number which he said was free to call. I am pretty sure it would have cost me to try out. But it was the first time I have had this type of response.
The third episode involved a US company, Hamilton & Pricehouse, phoning me about some shares that I own They claimed to have an investor who wanted to make a hostile takeover and was willing to buy the shares at a price several times more than the quoted value. Although suspicious (if something sounds too good to be true, it nearly always is) I could not work out what the scam was and ended up discussing the offer for a while and giving out my email address to receive their information.
The information sent was just a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for me to sign and send back, together with a request that I send details of my share holdings e.g. copy of certificate. The NDA would bind me but placed no restrictions on them and the share details could be used to defraud me. I also checked the website of the company whose shares were involved and it highlighted that this practice of unsolicited calls was going on and recommended a call to the UK’s ActionFraud. So I have not sent back the NDA despite two phone calls from Hamilton & Pricehouse to chase it up, and I am waiting a call back from ActionFraud, so I can report what has happened. Also I hope to understand if it is a scam and how it works, so that I can be even more on my guard in future.