I answered my mobile and it was one of those ever-so-annoying recorded messages that click in when you pick up. Usually I hang up straight away and cuss a little, but I rarely get these on my mobile phone so this time I listened for a little while.
It was a man’s voice. In booming, authoritative tones he said:
“The Government has introduced a new scheme that enables you to eliminate 100 per cent of your debts within 12 months. If you qualify you will be able to write off 100 per cent of your debts in just 12 months. To see if you qualify to take advantage of this scheme and to have your entire debts written off, then press 2 on your phone now.”
Was I going to press ‘2’? Ha, not likely! I dismissed it as a likely scam, perhaps designed to allow whoever it was to bombard me with premium-rate text messages, and hung up. Let’s face it, the only scheme launched by the UK Government to write off 100% of people’s debts is called personal bankruptcy.
On the Tuesday my phone rang again, twice, and it was the same recorded message.
On the Wednesday my phone rang again, three times, and – you guessed it – it was the same recorded message. Goodness knows what spammy old database my mobile phone number has ended up on, but by this point the calls were really beginning to annoy me.
If the WhoCallsMe forum is anything to go by, I’m not the only one. Initially I googled and found nothing, but a number of people have now reported getting these calls, all in the past week:
I found the last comment particularly interesting. I can’t find any website for a UK organisation calling itself the Financial Services Helpline. However people on the WhoCallsMe thread report that even though they have signed up to the Telephone Preference Service, which makes it illegal for companies to make unsolicited marketing calls to their numbers, they are still getting these spam calls.
Perhaps there is something in the water right now: Johnny Debt reports that spammers have also been sending out unsolicited text messages, claiming that the Government has introduced “Debt Settlement Orders”.
If you are worried about debt, my advice is that you IGNORE these unsolicited messages and calls. I recommend that you call National Debtline on 0808 808 4000. This is a government-endorsed helpline that provides FREE, confidential advice on how to deal with debt problems.
Image credit: Carissa GoodNCrazy.