Ten money saving tips: Cold callers

COLD calling is one of the most annoying aspects of modern life – particularly for the elderly, who are most often targeted. Residents of Angus, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire are currently among the first to try out the trueCall nuisance call blocker scheme, which is being co-ordinated by trading standards teams in the area.

Resarch carried out over 5,000 households revealed the types of companies most likely to be involved in cold calling. Here trueCall director Steve Smith reveals which are the top offenders. He says: “Nuisance calls must be dealt with very carefully. My advice is to never give out any personal details or financial information over the phone, particularly as so many callers have been classified as scammers.”

Finance companies – 22 per cent

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Plagued by unemployment, reduced hours and the rising cost of living; it’s therefore no surprise that companies promoting payday loans, credit cards, investments, pensions and other forms of funding are maximising this opportunity for increased business.

Scammers – 19 per cent

Each of us is likely to have a different view of what a scam actually is. With scamming techniques becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is often difficult to tell what is genuine and what is fake. However, a number of specific types of call were often repeated by householders in the findings and considered by them to be scam, so have made their way onto this list. They include the so called “Microsoft Virus” scam, fake lottery winnings, and requests to call a premium rate number.

PPI compensation companies – 16 per cent

Including live calls and recorded messages, the nation is being bombarded with adverts and phone calls from companies planting the seed of hope in our mind that we could potentially be due to receive a windfall worth thousands of pounds.

Telecoms companies – 9 per cent

A very competitive industry, we’re constantly being offered the opportunity and the benefits potentially associated with switching telecom suppliers. We can expect to become really popular with such companies when our current contract is about to expire.

energy companies – 8 per cent

With the rising cost of all types of energy, it’s a wonder that we can afford to pay our fuel bills at all. However, as with telecoms companies, industry competition is fierce and we’re constantly being encouraged to review our bills, switch supplier or renew our current contract.

Surveys/market researchers – 7 per cent

Often beginning their conversation with “Don’t worry, we’re not trying to sell you anything”, surveys and market researchers can often be identified very quickly. On occasion, a little incentive may be offered to take part but take heed – you may end up on the marketing list of many companies. This is half an hour of your life that you’ll never get back.

Insurance companies – 7 per cent

No longer content with simple home, home contents, car and health insurance, we’re now offered insurance products covering everything from our pet to our satellite dish. Presumably assuming that should any item in the home break down we wouldn’t be able to afford to fix or replace it, these insurance companies want to cover absolutely every eventuality.

Accident claim companies – 4 per cent

We’re a clumsy lot, aren’t we? Accident claims have moved on since the days of wobbling paving stones and it seems we’ve taken heed from the US and become a nation of accident claimers. Whether we’ve come a cropper at work, on the road or out and about, accident claim companies are telling us that the opportunities for making a claim are endless.

Home improvement companies – 4 per cent

Not so long ago, we were all told that the bottom had dropped out of the property market and we were better off deciding to “make do and mend”, staying in our current homes and sprucing them up, instead. Home improvement companies, including double glazing firms, kitchen and bathroom installers, took this to heart and are still trying to persuade us to stay right where we are and invest our money with them, instead.

Insulation/green energy providers – 4 per cent

Insulation and green energy providers regularly perform a fine balancing act, vowing to keep us warm, help us to stay environmentally friendly and slash our heating costs. Their enthusiasm in wanting to speak with us has landed them at number ten in our top ten telemarketing culprits.