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Carphone crackdown on phone insurance scam

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Exclusive The CarphoneWarehouse (CPW) is working with Trading Standards to crackdown on "rogue" companies pestering its customers with offers of cheap mobile phone insurance.

These companies phone punters on the fly, offer cheap insurance by claiming to be working with CPW or a mobile phone network, but never deliver the necessary paperwork to show that customers are covered.

Attempts to contact these insurers to make a claim inevitably ends in frustration and disappointment.

Since CPW never dishes out personal information about its customers, many victims are puzzled as to how these dodgy operators obtained their new mobile phone number in the first place. Well, due to CPW's massive size, it buys blocks of numbers which run consecutively, from the cellcos.

The scamsters simply buy a phone from CPW and dial 500 numbers, say, either side of the one they've bought, calling these numbers continuously until they get connected.

When they do get through, though, that's all they have - a number. However, the fraudsters are very clever at asking the right questions to obtain customers' personal details. In a way, it's a "phishing scam" over the phone.

CPW understands that these rogue insurers are causing its customers "great distress" and says it is "doing all that [it] can to try and put an end to this problem".

CPW declined to say how many people have been caught out, but it explained that it is compiling a database of information about these companies, which are understood to originate from the Swansea area, and is working with Trading Standards in Swansea.

In a letter to those who have been targeted by the scam CPW said it will be using this information "in legal proceedings against the companies involved".

Until then, CPW is looking to highlight the problem to make its customers more aware.

"We are in the process of creating a booklet, which will include a section on these so called 'rogue insurers' and what to do if you're called." The booklet will be available in our 600 UK stores by the end of January," said a spokeswoman for CPW. ®

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