Sunday, 29 April 2012

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) Scam from 01274

Last week on 25 April I found a rather unusual voicemail message on my answerphone service. Not one of the many silent calls that plague us all so much nowadays. It was plain that this one was from a would be scammer. How do I know this? Because he failed to hang up on me properly, and moved onto his next call, oblivious to the fact that he was broadcasting both sides of it to my number. After the initial ring tone and some opening mumbles, Victim and Scammer continue their dialogue, transcribed below as best as I could follow it: -

V: Hello?

S: Hello, my name is Jason Wayne, based in our PPI claims department. I’ve called to let you know that we’re going to be refunding your money back to you now.

V: For?

S: OK. You know about your payment protection insurance?

V: I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

S: We’ve had 27 million customers from the UK, ever since we’ve heard from the Ministry of Justice, we’re needing to get the money back to all these cheated people.

V: I don’t remember taking anything out.

S: Are you sure, madam, ‘cause you see, you know about this PPI and everything, do you know how much you’re getting back? You’re getting roughly £2,000 back, your loan was £5,000, you never used the PPI, therefore you’re fully eligible for your refund, OK?

V: (Hesitant semi-approval, semi-understanding.)

S: I’ll put you on hold and transfer the call to one of my supervisors.

V: OK.

Unfortunately, with the victim hanging on and evidently nursing a crying baby in the background, my message time limit ran out and I heard no more. My incoming calls displayer revealed the call to have been from 01274. This is the area code for Bradford. It tallied with the fact that S’ accent combined the tones of Yorkshire with those of the Asian subcontinent.

I typed the full number into Google. The second entry on the first page confirmed “7 people think it’s a scam number”. The third: “Another PPI Insurance pestering call.” The fourth: “if you answer, you go straight onto hold with a recorded message…” The overall impression was that S’ goal was to harvest credit card details from gullible victims who thought that there was an accidental windfall coming their way.

Scam communication is a pestilence. It is also something that has fascinated me for some time, above all the sub-genre of turning the tables back on the perpetrators via scambaiting. Indeed, going one step further, it has partly inspired the plot for my legal and political suspense follow up to Hatred Ridicule & Contempt, currently a work in progress where a plot to defraud a firm of solicitors runs in parallel with the 2010 general election and the dark arts of candidate selection.

Oh yes, that phone number. Would you like me to publish it in full? Just ask.

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