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Altmann: Cold-call ban would not stop scams

Ros Altmann

Pensions minister Ros Altmann says banning cold calling would not stop pension scams.

In a wide ranging debate with journalists at a Headlinemoney event in London last week, Altmann said the issue was the volume of calls coming from abroad.

Scams involving pensions have been in the spotlight after the pension freedoms gave crooks a new inroad to potential victims.

But the pensions minister said simply banning cold calling would not solve the problem.

She said: “With these kinds of cold calls it’s very difficult for the Government to do anything. We are trying out best and catching lots of them. We have a whole team of people and all sorts of organisations are coming together but a lot of these are coming from abroad.

“We’re now putting in place a system where the number comes up when you get a call for any company that is registered over here. But many of these are coming from abroad and they are determined to scam you out of their money. It’s a question of making the public have the understanding that this isn’t normal.

“I’ve looked at making cold calls illegal but if they come from abroad there’s nothing we can do. We could put in the legislation, it would take legislative time away from other things, but actually it probably wouldn’t solve the problem. You can tell people it’s illegal but they will still take the phone call.”


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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Well how about making the sale of live phone numbers illegal instead? If Mr/Mrs Conman can guess 10 digits then they may consider the lottery over making victim’s lives hell.
    The objection I can see is from local councils who sell our details to these overseas conmen

  2. I doubt it would stop scams but what it would do is give scammers a law to break that is much, much easier to prove than fraud.

    It is not a crime to run an investment incompetently, nor to pay yourself an inflated salary, nor to let suckers freely invest their money into it. Some combination of those may be fraud, but it’s difficult to prove at any time and nigh on impossible until the scheme has already collapsed and the investors’ money is gone.

    Prosecuting someone for breaking a law banning *all* cold calling, without exception, would be easy. This is your phone. This is the record showing you called these people. Can you present records showing these people specifically consented to being called by you? No? Then it’s off to chokey you go for 10 years.

    Al Capone could not be prosecuted for running a criminal empire, they had to get him for tax evasion. We know that we cannot get these people for running scams, so get them for cold calling instead.

    There may be nothing we can do about those who call from abroad (except hope that if the UK lead the way in banning cold calling, others would follow) but a lot of scammers *do* call from within the UK (because it makes them more likely to be trusted) so I don’t believe it would be totally ineffective.

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