Have you been trapped by a cold caller like Channel 5’s Jane?
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Viewers have been gripped by the broadcaster’s new four-part series Cold Call. But it might strike too close to home for some.
It's a scenario which could happen to the best of us. We're sitting having a cuppa in the comfort of our home. Maybe enjoying a cheeky chocolate digestive. Then there's a call. "I'm sorry to bother you Mrs xxxxx but we've detected fraud on your account…."
And so goes the story of June (AKA Jane) on Channel 5's Cold Call, played convincingly by Sally Lindsay.
Worryingly, scriptwriters didn't have to stretch themselves too far to conceive the idea for the show (available to stream in its entirety on My5) which exposes the intricacies, deceits and, dare I say it, ingenious tactics deployed by con artists to get their mitts on your data…and your hard earned cash.
I myself was targeted a few years ago. It was around 11pm. An eloquent young man called, from New York apparently, telling me I had to move some shares I owned. Well, they'd only ever dealt with my via watermarked or crested letter, I'd never had a phone call, and because my dad bought me the shares, there was no doubt in my mind there's no way they could have had my mobile details. Unless they were a crook. I hung up and ignored the following three additional calls, all from 'different' numbers.
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But how easily someone else, someone vulnerable, could be fooled.
As Cold Call proves, these people can be utterly convincing. Aubrey (Dan Renton Skinner) is a vicious, snake-like panto villain who, in a few lines, reading Jane's tone, accent and more, manages to convince her to transfer over £80,000 to a new account.
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He even has her apologising by the end of the call, for goodness sake!
Realising she's been hoodwinked, Jane joins a help group where (slightly letchy) old school peer Des (Daniel Ryan) scoops her up in a frenzy, convincing her to join him in a plot of espionage….and murder…in an attempt to reclaim her desperately needed funds. You have to ask, what's in it for him?
And so Jane, now June, finds herself at the big boss's house. Kirk Wiley (Paul Higgins) is a controlling, frighteningly Machiavellian son, husband, father, businessman. Walking on eggshells, and with Kirk's sometimes seemingly lucid dementia-addled mother on her case, Jane is forced into dangerous game. Will she come out victorious? The final episode, aired tonight (November 21) should reveal all.
In the meanwhile here are some tips to avoid being ensnared yourself!
3 typical scams
There are some age-old favourites adopted by criminals.
1. One is to call, pretending to be from your bank or perhaps a utility provider, advising you of fraud on your account.
As on Cold Call, they will offer to send your money to a new, safe account in your name. But, it's fair to assume if you follow their plans, you'll never see that money again.
2. Another common scam is a call asking you to assist in the investigation of corrupt staff at a bank branch. You may be asked to withdraw a large sum of money, handing it to a 'police officer', before it is returned to you (or not).
3. Then there are the scammers who call to tell you your computer has a virus. They'll ask to log on to fix it, but in actual fact are mining your data. They'll be able to find out everything about you - including your banking details.
1. The police or your bank will never, ever call you and ask you to transfer money for fraud - even if they are moving to an account in your name. And they will never ask for your four digit pin.
2. The police or your bank will never ask you to withdraw money, send someone to your home, or ask you to purchase goods.
3. If you suspect foul play always hang up and visit your bank in-branch or find out their official fraud line and call it to file a report.
4. Your bank will never ask you to check that the number on your phone's display matches their registered number. It is too easy for criminals to spoof the phone lines.
5. Don't ever feel pressured and if you're asked to do any of the above, hang up!
Have you ever been caught out by criminal cold callers? Tell us your story. Email