A company called Keurboom Communications has just been fined a cool 400 grand for making nuisance calls*. I’d have slapped them with another few grand for having a really crap name as well.

The company made about 90 million calls in the space of 18 months. Five million a month, 17000 a day, or about 7000 an hour. I’d like to see their telephone bills; they must be a revelation. Also they must have needed a lot of auto power-diallers to crank out 100 calls a minute, so I’d like to have been their IT supplier.

The calls were often made at antisocial hours, which is hardly surprising. To make calls at the rate of 17000 a day, you’re going to need all 24 hours, aren’t you? As you might also expect, the calls were all about payment protection insurance, or ‘following up on the accident you had last month.’

One of the reasons I no longer have a phone is the sheer volume of junk calls I was getting, but the ‘accident you had last month’ calls offered the opportunity for a bit of fun. I felt mildly guilty about this, since working in a call centre is a truly crap job, but hey! Take it up with the boss.

Conversations went along these lines**.

‘Is that Mr Swallow?’

‘Who wants to know?’

That gets them on the backfoot immediately.

‘Errrmmm, I’d like to talk to you about compensation for the accident you had last month.’

‘Oh, right. Which one?’

‘Pardon?’

‘I had two. Which one do you want to discuss?’

‘Well, we just need to get a few more details from you…’

‘Yes, I see that, but if I don’t know which one you’re referring to I can’t help out, can I? You must know which one it is. You called me, after all. Be reasonable here.’

‘Errrm…’

‘Bye.’

I also once got a call from some other call centre, usual rigmarole, but this was a proper scam.

‘Is that Mr Swallow?’

‘Who wants to know?’

‘Errm, I’d like to talk to you about the money you owe Barclaycard.’

‘How much do I owe? Allegedly.’

‘£1794-56.’

‘That’s interesting. Quite a lot of dosh, then?’

‘Perhaps we could discuss how and when you intend to start paying back.’

‘I’d be delighted to do that, but there’s a problem.’

‘Oh. What’s the problem you have?’

‘I don’t have a Barclaycard. I paid it up and cancelled it about four years ago. Bye.’

The £1794-56 was pleasingly exact, wasn’t it? It was also dumb. If the scammers had said, I dunno, 28 quid or something, I might just have thought, ‘Damn! I must have goofed,’ and coughed up. SPQR as they say.

*Keurboom and its director, Gregory Rudd, have a bit of form here. They jointly got fined 2400 smackers back in 2016. Oh yes. Mr Rudd is no dummy, and Keurboom have now gone into liquidation. He’ll do an Arnie, I suspect.

**Another good way of disposal is to ask for the caller’s home number.

‘Why do you want that?’

I’m going to ring you up halfway through your watching your favourite film!

nuisance

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