Updated: Feb 6, 2020
Pretty much every year I get a phone call from the Police asking me to advertise in their "something or other".
This year it was an executive diary.
Usually, and honestly, when they ring I have already committed or spent my advertising budget so the answer is a quick and simple "no".
As a result I'd never needed to consider the legitimacy of the call.
I have to say, that if it really is the Police calling, I usually feel quite pressured to buy because I know they have to deal with a lot of crap and I feel like I should help out somehow.
With every other cold call I get I simply say "no, I don't buy things over the phone" and that's that.
But this time it was different. Their timing was right and I felt like it would be good to help the Police by spending a little on advertising.
So I said yes.
Right away things got weird though.
The guy on the phone wanted to use a copy of an ad' he'd got from the local paper. An ad' that he would only have ever had in print form.
I immediately thought that was too crap to reproduce anywhere. "Who would use a clipping from a newspaper to make another ad?"
I probed him about this and it turned out he had an old version of the ad' anyway so I insisted that I be able to send through the right one, a proper digital copy.
He said OK, no problem and that they'd email me.
I then got a phone call and texts from his associate asking me to verify that I was happy to go ahead. I replied yes but repeated that I needed my new artwork to be included.
Again, that was fine "we'll be in touch via email".
After a few days I got another phone call from someone else asking me to verify that I'd received the email with my proof for the ad' to authorise so I could pay for it.
I said "No", because I hadn't and the phone person tried to tell me it may be in my spam. It wasn't and it had definitely not come through in any shape or form.
Yeah lady, try to tell the computer guy how to suck eggs. Sheesh.
I re-iterated the need for my new artwork to be used. She agreed but all she did was email me an invoice AND still not provide me with a mechanism for sending the correct artwork.
Now I may have been a bit green so far, but there was no way I was going to pay an invoice for something that I hadn't got and certainly hadn't been able to deliver the correct artwork.
It suddenly felt very suspect.
So I Googled the company on the invoice combined with the words Police Diary and funnily enough up popped numerous results showing this to be a scam with plenty of prior victims.
So I replied to the email and told them that I had changed my mind, cancel the ad', I know you are a scam, no further correspondence will be entered into.
It was probably a waste of time but regardless I felt I at least had to say that in writing before things went any further. I also text the person who had texted me on the subject.
I will also be sending their details to the real police and relevant authorities.
While I am annoyed with myself that I just didn't do my usual "no" to any phone call, I am happy that my other faculties and business sense helped to stop this before it went too far.
No-one is immune to this. They'll try to find the good side of even the crustiest of cynics like me ;-)
Take care folks.
UPDATE 6/2/20 - The scam goes deeper...
Today I received a debt collection letter from these people.
The gall and front of these people is amazing. They are piling onto the scam in the hope that their original one somehow rings true and I'll be worried about having not paid their bill.
To be blunt f*** that and f*** them.
I have reported this new aspect of the scam to ScamWatch (again).
When you look at the debt collection notice (shown below) you can see that this new agency is also impossible to physically locate or contact.
They have a crap and very fake looking web site though.
I have reported them to ASIC as well because they are using a registered ABN.
Beware folks, they'll try anything...
P.S. New rules mean telco's have to co-operate to help thwart scam calls. 27/11/19
P.P.S. And the message from Germany that seemed amazingly timely...