The number of phone scams is on the rise, warns the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). Its Consuwijzer consumer information desk has received hundreds of reports from victims in recent months. The watchdog organisation advises people not to accept any special offers made during telephone calls.
Unreliable parties are cold calling victims offering low-budget holidays, competitions and special discounts. These calls are often a follow-up from prize competitions people participated in. Initially, they’re led to believe that they have actually won a prize, but then it turns out that it was only the first step towards an ‘offer’.
People who give permission to be sent information will be put under pressure to pay.
The ACM has a clear message to consumers who are approached by a party they don’t trust: “say NO, end the call and don’t pay. Never give in to threats. This way, consumers can save themselves a lot of trouble. ”
Do not enter any competitions or surveys on the internet, no matter how attractive they may seem. This may enable malicious individuals to get hold of your phone number and harass you.
Don’t give your consent to receiving information ‘with no obligation’ from a party you don’t trust, not even if you think this may be an easy way to get rid of these people.
Don’t pay for any deal that wasn’t made according to the rules (like a cooling-off period, for example) or was the result of pressure. Banks will refund direct debit payments collected without your permission.
For more information and tips, visit the ACM website.