Monica Dyson: Counting the cost of nuisance phone calls

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Is it just our house or is everyone being subjected to those annoying phone calls and professional-looking emails?

One day we had nine calls, which ranged from PPI advice, surveys, insurance for our satellite television system or about a fault on my computer. We also get frequent ones asking what we are going to do about the accident we had and if anyone in our household has arthritis. I certainly didn’t tell them about my new hips. I’d never have got them off the line.

When I revisited the Telephone Preference Service website I was told that my telephone number was still on the protected list but they were at pains to point out that there has been a rise in the number of such calls to people who are registered on this service as many companies are simply ignoring the law. Why can’t they do anything about it? I know I can buy a phone or a gadget that can filter phone calls so that you only receive the calls from numbers on your chosen list, but why should I have to?

I cannot believe that something cannot be done. Just as I am indignant that it seems difficult for the authorities to track down the perpetrators of the distressing tweets that are so much in the news at the moment and can ruin people’s lives.

At one time the nuisance phone calls seemed to come from call centres abroad. Now they can be from almost anywhere and mostly from this country.

At one time I felt quite sorry for the nice young men who rang me from Mumbai and called me ‘Ma’am’. I remember one calling me to tell me that I had a computer virus. He asked me how I was and I asked him how he was. We had quite a pleasant conversation about the weather in Mumbai and about the time I visited India, and by the end of the call I felt that I had made a new best friend even though he rang off forgetting what it was that he’d called for in the first place. OK I had a bit of spare time and it was Christmas –goodwill to all men and all that, but as time went those feelings wore off somewhat.

I’m never rude to callers. I accept that they are doing a job that possibly no one else wants to do and I’ve had some quite pleasant door- to-door conversations with people who are often thought of as being a nuisance like Jehovah’s Witnesses and who want you to read The Watchtower, but the phone calls were getting a bit much, and in the run-up to Christmas when times can be hard. A friend tells them he’s a builder and asks if they’d like any work doing, and gives quotes in case they do. Funnily enough, they never do.

The most worrying calls are those from criminals who try to obtain your bank details. It seems that 60 per cent of us received suspicious cold calls over the past 12 months from people attempting to blag personal information from the victim whilst they are on the phone.

They claim to be Repres-entatives of a bank or financial institution and are after your pin number and pass word.

NEVER give out information like that to a stranger, however plausible he might sound.