Regulation  

Warning sounded on cold-caller imitating provider

Warning sounded on cold-caller imitating provider
 Photo: Neosiam via Pexels

Providers and advisers have sounded the warning bell after a spate of cold-calls from a mobile number claiming to be calling on behalf of 'Guardian Life'.

Steve Casey, marketing director for SimplyHealth, flagged the number with Financial Adviser after receiving a cold-call.

He said: "I had a call about funeral plans. 'Because of Covid, funeral costs are increasing at an alarming rate and they could fix the costs of a funeral now'.

"But when I started questioning them they put the phone down."

According to reverse phone look up Who Called Me, the "overall rating for phone number 07418 600173 is Dangerous.There have been 11,229 phone look-ups and 103 comments relating to 07418 600173".

The majority of look-ups have been in the London area, according to Who Called Me, with more than 1,200 look ups at the time of writing.

When the number is called back, nobody picks up and it goes straight to an automated service saying the number is not valid.

Mr Casey said: "I tried the number and it’s not recognised – suggest we note the name."

The alleged company is not on the FCA register but the cold-caller is using a name similar to authorised insurance provider Guardian, which could cause problems for unwary consumers who answer the call and do not know to check whether the company is legitimate. 

Katya MacLean, chief executive of authorised insurance company Guardian, said the insurer would be taking action over the use of the Guardian name.

Ms MacLean commented: “These calls are nothing to do with us and we will be taking action on their use of the Guardian name. We would always urge anyone who gets a cold call regarding their finances that they’re not expecting to ignore it and talk instead to a regulated adviser or their bank.”

The number has been flagged with the Information Commissioner's Office. The ICO has information on its website about unsolicited marketing calls, which would be useful to raise with clients should they also report any instances of cold-calling. 

https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/nuisance-calls/

The ICO also has guidance on the relevant legislation for organisations: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/

People who are concerned about nuisance marketing calls, texts and emails can report numbers and suspicious companies through its online reporting tool at: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/spam-texts-and-nuisance-calls/

In November, Financial Adviser investigated a cold-calling firm which had been targeting people in the UK, claiming to be reviewing their life insurance policies. 

Advisers such as Alan Knowles, director of Cura Financial Services, reported receiving cold-calls from a Runcorn-based outfit calling itself the Insurance Review Centre.

When investigated, it transpired the firm had no Financial Conduct Authority authorisation and had been using very old lists with names dating back before the General Data Protection Regulation came into force. 

The ICO and the FCA said they were both looking into the company.