I got one of those spam calls this morning. My phone is usually muted during the night, but whilst K*** and R*** have been away, I’ve left the sound on. It was one of those annoying 020xx xxxxxx calls. I don’t usually answer them on the basis that if it is a genuine call, then they’ll either call back or leave a voicemail. However, I was expecting a call or text from the Argos delivery driver for the package I was having delivered (yep it didn’t go in the car!). They had told me that delivery was between 7am and 8pm, but that I would get a call or text before they deliver. The guy in Argos told me that some drivers like to finish early on Saturday, so it would be likely to be early than later.
I heard my phone at around 6:15 and not checking the number just answered it. I knew straight away what kind of call it was when the lady (questionable) at the other end spoke. The recorded voice started with “Hello, sorry to hear about your recent FATAL accident …” It was at that point that I hung up. I still find it funny.
I’ll give you a little background first. A few years ago, I got a call on my mobile. I didn’t know the number, but as I was expecting to hear from prospective employer, I answered. It turned out to be an automated call from someone who was ‘… sorry to hear about my accident, and would like to help with my compensation claim …’ There was no accident and therefore no claim. I naively complained to my provider who told me that it was probably a number harvester ie scammers who dial random numbers. If the number answer then they know it’s a live number they can sell. The advice was not answer calls where I did not know the number and that they would eventually stop. The reasoning behind this is that if the call is important, the caller would either leave a voice mail or call again. K*** doesn’t understand this. Her opinion is ‘ …why do you have a phone if you are not going to answer it …?’ I usually say that you don’t open the door if you cannot see who is knocking, to which she hesitantly agrees.
But back to the point of this moan. Last week, I had been in the supermarket, and as I was coming out, my phone rang. As per the norm, I did not know the number so did not answer. A few seconds later I got a ‘New Voice Mail’ message. Now here is where the fun starts. The message explained that they were West Yorkshire Police, and that they had ‘… received an emergency 999 call from my phone and did I still need attention …?’ I had not called the emergency number, and what had happened was that I must have touched tapped 112 (the alternative number) when I put my phone in my pocket at the start of my shopping. I was given a number to ring (101) if the call was not an emergency. This I tried and after about 15 minutes, I managed to get through. I apologised for accidentally calling 112 and the officer said that it happens sometimes, they even have a name for it, calling it ‘Pocket Dialling’ . She thanked me for letting them know.
So why the annoyance. Well that call to the 101 number does not come within the allowed number on my phone contract, because it is what is called a ‘short number’. So basically it cost me £0.51 in call charges to say sorry. However, if I had ignored the original message, I would not have had to pay. I did ask the officer what would have happened if I had not called to explain and she told me nothing … nothing at all. The call would close after a period of time, but nothing would happen.