Very nasty telephone scam … Help shut it down … Active now (Nov 2012)

Beware of a very nasty scam that I’ve recently experienced. If you are a victim make sure you report it to ActionFraud (www.actionfraud.police.uk or phone 0300 123 2040)

The company calls asking to speak to a particular person and they introduce themselves using a very Anglo-Saxon name like ‘Paul Smith’ or ‘Shane Blake’ but they have quite broad Indian accents. They also say they are calling from a law firm, in my case they used the firm ‘Allen & Overy’. Once they confirm they are speaking to the correct person they then use a very serious tone to inform you that a legal claim has been filed against you by a company, in my case this was ‘QuickCash’. They also mention terms like ‘Affidavit’ – all very intimidating. I never found out what the claim was but I guess it would have been for some ludicrous amount of money. I have since discovered that the company have some very aggressive approaches including threatening to send people around to your house if you don’t comply with their demands.

The call also comes from a London number currently 02036271571 – it changes. I actually rang them on this number and it definitely goes back to their call centre probably somewhere in India or thereabouts as I heard someone say my name before I had even mentioned it so they can see and recognised my phone number.

For most people the scam is obvious but there are a lot of vulnerable people who won’t so it is important this scam is shut down asap.

If you are contacted by these people get as much information about them as you possibly can – I leave it to your imagination but bear in mind that these people are guilty of fraud and the police are very interested in catching them and shutting them down. The company is protected by communications technology ie they look like they are calling you from a London number but there is no certainty that is where they are located. The reason why I called them was that the original call quality was abysmal and they has the cheek to ask me to call back (and I did!!) I think the call quality was bad because it was routed over a dodgy international connection but that’s all conjecture.

Once you do have some information just calmly say that you know that they are a scam and very calmly put down the phone – under no circumstances get aggressive because this is exactly what they want and you are guaranteed to get further calls to wear you down. Telling them that you know they are a scam is actually playing them at their own game!!

Make sure you have the number they called from (use 1471 on your phone) and a description of your experience with them – it is very much up to you how far you let them progress with their script until you terminate the call. Then to help get these people stopped contact the ActionFraud which is the central site used by all the UK police forces to coordinate information gathered about these sorts of scams. You can go to the website at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk or ring 0300 123 2040 and submit a report – they are very appreciative of the information.

By the way there is no point going to the Telephone Preference Service (www.tpsonline.org.uk/) because they don’t deal with scams and because of the way the scammers are using telecommunication technology it is not possible to block the number. You could however get your telephone provider to block the number on your telephone account – no idea what this would cost.

Please spread the word……

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About David

Profile

Making a complete career change to become an Occupational Therapist following a long career in IT and Mobile Telecommunications.

Well equipped with the personal qualities required to fulfil the role of an Occupational Therapist including being a highly developed empathic communicator with children through to the elderly, an enthusiastic desire to improve people’s lives and a wealth of life experience.

Planning to take up an Occupational Therapy Assistant position in a site located in Berkshire area while taking an Access course (Open University modules) which will allow attendance of a four year in-service Occupational Therapy course.

Looking for an OTA position in an NHS hospital or other organisations which will support the aim of becoming a fully qualified Occupational Therapist specialising in one of: Mental Health, Paediatrics or the Elderly. Currently arranging shadowing sessions with OTs working in each of these disciplines at the local NHS hospitals in order to gain a clearer understanding of the roles.
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Key Skills and Experience

Volunteer Age Concern Advocate

Caring for the financial affairs of elderly people in private residential homes. Included collection of pension and monitoring of savings to ensure benefits were not compromised. Considerable amount of time spent with clients communicating and advising.

Volunteer Classroom Assistant at Garth Hill Primary School, Bracknell.

Once a week, spent 2-3 hours working with two or more nine year old children with emotional and/or learning difficulties. Duties mainly involved assisting the children to read and various other tasks set by the class teacher.

Visiting the Elderly in Residential Homes

For many years I have had experience of visiting elderly people in residential homes in the context of regular voluntary visits to Parkhurst Residential Home in Reading and visits to friends and parents (my mother suffers from advanced suspected Alzheimer’s).

IT Technical Support in a Customer Services context

The last five years spent working as a Technical Support Analyst in the Mobile Telecommunications industry. This role has provided me with highly developed problem resolution skills and extensive communication skills using computer technology including instant messaging, email, web based remote control tools and the phone in both one -to-one and conference call scenarios. Due the role covering the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region I have experience of communicating with a wide range of cultures.

In general, I am a naturally intuitive communicator and have the ability to put people at ease in most situations. In my IT work role I spent a significant amount of time with colleagues in both counselling and coaching roles for personal and work issues.

Being a fully trained Electronics engineer I am inherently practical in my approach which is further tempered by my strong sense of intuition.

Employment History

26 Aug 2008 – Oct 2011 Technical Support Analyst at Research In Motion Ltd, Egham

Working in the Strategic Service Delivery Team providing case based support to Strategic Carriers (O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile etc) in the EMEA region.

Oct 2006 – Aug 2008 Data Support Specialist at Vodafone UK Ltd, Newbury

Working in a Support team providing case based support to Vodafone UK customers with BlackBerry Enterprise Server installations.

Dec 2005 – May 2006 Lotus Domino System Administrator at Brighthouse Ltd, Reading

(Contract Job) Administration of the company’s email system and providing general technical workstation and application support.

Aug 1981- Sep 2005 3M United Kingdom Plc , Bracknell

2002–2005 Lotus Domino System Administrator

1998–2002 Technical Support Analyst

1981–1998 Senior Specialist

  • Certified Six Sigma Greenbelt

Worked in the PC support team from the time before PCs were widespread (team of two people), through the introduction of the IBM PC, LAN technology supporting File and Printer Servers, to a global LAN infrastructure supporting a full electronic mail system (global team of more than 100)

1979 – 1981 Professional Technology Officer II at AWRE, MoD(PE), Aldermaston

Qualifications

B.Eng(Hons) Electronic Engineering Sheffield University

Other Interests

Movement Studies, Games, art, pottery, reading science fiction, contemporary jazz,, human behaviour & psychology, Alternative therapies, digital photography, sports.

Location:Plymouth Avenue,Woodley,United Kingdom

Signing on – an experience to be avoided if possible…

Signing on’ for Job Seeker’s Allowance
This is probably one if the most degrading experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

Everything is governed by a set of imposed rules which bear no regard for the fact they apply to humans. The staff thanklessly have to impose the rules and in that process have to deal with indignant human responses the degree of which vary enormously depending on the person’s disposition or attitude to finding a job and the level of job. I admire the job centre staff who can only become seriously cynical about the people they’re serving.

There is an amazing amount of paper generated in the process – a lot of which is hand written and double signed (make sure you have two forms of ID on you for every visit to the Job Centre) and then walked to the next department in the processing of the paperwork. The inefficiency of the system has to be seen to be believed. Ironically the JSA application starts off as an online process promising much but that’s where it finishes – your next port of call is the nearest Job Centre Plus (appointment arranged by a phone call from someone – not by selecting a time slot at the time of the application submission) when you are presented with a hard copy of the application form which you sign in many places. (At the time I wished I had a solicitor with me to check the legality and to what I was committing!)

After that process you have another appointment to establish what types of job you can reasonably apply for and sign the agreement to abide by the JSA rules – you must apply for two advertised jobs (crazy, given that 75% of jobs are not advertised) every week otherwise you are likely to lose the privilege of the benefit. (It is alleged that some benefit users apply for jobs but never attend the interviews which understandably upsets many employers. In Reading 10% of JSA applicants are checked to see if they are genuinely following through with their applications – that’s 700 people which is a ridiculously high use of people’s time which could be spent helping the applicants find jobs. You have a 1 in 10 chance of being found out and even then I expect you’re given a number of chances to change your ways…)

You can claim your travel to & from a job interview but not to/from the Job Centre to sign on (you are expected to make provision yourself which could be very tricky at the beginning as you don’t get the benefit until the ‘machine’ has ingested your signed & vetted application, processed it and spits out a magic amount on more paper which you most likely have to sign having shown two forms of identity.)

In my short time with the JSA process I cannot believe the number of gross inefficiencies exist – integration of data and electronic workflow doesn’t seem to exist. At the rate of bits of paper I’ve been given I’m going to drown in it – goodness knows where the Job Centres themselves hold the paper they generate for their own use…. big fire hazard in the basement possibly.)

I’m not looking forward to subsequent signing on episodes and queried why I haven’t applied for the obligatory two jobs pet week which ain’t going to happen. If I lose the benefit, so be it – I suspect the amount they give you is hardly worth the effort but it is something as long as it’s more than the cost of the travel… More to follow.

The wonderings of an IT Techie becoming an Occupational Therapist

I am an IT technical specialist recently made redundant and have had the revelation that I had come to the end of a 30+ year career in the IT/Telecommunications industry and should be taking up a career as an Occupational Therapist. This blog is about the journey from the revelation to it becoming a reality (or not).

Firstly, a bit of history.

From the beginning of the time I began to think of what I’d like to do in life there was always a thread of thought that said ‘something in the medical world’. At the time, and up until the ‘revelation’, I had no idea what that would be.
Cowbridge Grammar School
In the sixth form at Cowbridge Grammar School in South Wales, I decided that I wanted to be an Electronic Engineer as I felt that this was where the future lay (as opposed to Mechanical Engineering – my father’s chosen career). The medical thread appeared when my first serious project was a biofeedback device designed to detect beta brainwaves and feedback as audio – it didn’t work.

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AWE from the air (courtesy Wikipedia)

After finishing secondary school, I gained sponsorship by the Ministry of Defence and was based at AWRE, Aldermaston which proved to be an excellent place for an aspiring engineer to do his apprenticeship. Due to its secret operations the site was more or less totally self-contained with regards to the construction of an atomic weapon. This gave the opportunity of exposure to an extremely wide range of disciplines. I was interested to discover that AWRE was where the first Kidney Dialysis machines were designed and built (there’s that medical thread again).

Following my apprenticeship at AWRE which included taking a three year honours degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Sheffield University (brilliant place to be) I stayed a further two years as a PTO ii (Professional Technology Officer grade 2) working on a classified communications project which taught me all about these new fangled devices – microprocessors.

This experience plus a strong frustration with the immensely burdening bureaucratic nature of the Civil Service and aversion to the prospect of working with ‘The Weapon’ I chose to leave AWRE and joined 3M UK Plc as a Small Systems Specialist working with Dave Lemin in the IT department.

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3M United Kingdom Plc
3M became my working ‘home’ for 24 years where I saw the introduction of the first corporate desktop computers starting with the Commodore Pet in the Pensions Dept, used by the Pensions Manager), running a program loaded from cassette tape to calculate Pension service dates for people who returned to the company following a job elsewhere (3M was a good company to work for and many leavers returned hence the need for the program).

Other computing power used by the 3M Marketing groups was an Olivetti P6060 which emulated the Geisco Timeshare facility – users would write & test their programs (using Geisco Timeshare BASIC language) then upload the program and data to the timeshare computer, via a special communications link similar to using a dial up modem, to eventually obtain the desired analysis.

Dave Lemin & I had desktop machines called the ‘Kontron‘ running a variant of the CP80 operating system called KOS (Kontron Operating System), the Kontron had a green screen (like mainframe terminals) and integral twin 5.5″ floppy disk drives (no hard disk) and for 3M were the forerunners of the IBM PC which, though just made available in the US (1981), appeared after the Hewlett Packard HP125 (another CP80 machine) in 1983/4.

After a checkered and a very full career with 3M UK, a company I still highly respect and have a fondness for (especially the people), I took voluntary redundancy in 2005 and spent some time experiencing the world of contracting.

The money’s good (or was then) but I soon found out the work availability was just a little too unpredictable and in 2006 joined Vodafone UK in Newbury as a Data Support Specialist. The role involved supporting Vodafone customers who used BlackBerry in conjunction with Lotus Domino email.

…to be continued….

Hello world! Says Dave Pike of Reading, UK

Hi I’m Dave Pike living in Reading United Kingdom. Reading is about 35 miles/56km west of London.

This site is under construction soon to be populated so watch this space!

Thanks for finding me and do come back another time when I’ll have something more interesting for you to read…

For inspiration have a look at:

Commitment by Goethe