By Calvin at 08:56 GMT, 5 years ago
Layt June and erly July we was ‘avin a real good zummer down yer in these parts of London and the Sowf-eest and then, after that uz wuz experiencing some good dayz yer compared to up ther in the North. Today I seez that us iz gowin to av another nise day, so uz down yer are feelin sumwot tumultuous.
Now that was a bit of Devon speak, but if you were approached by email or maybe phone, to advertise your business on a website with that sort of English I suspect you wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.
Yesterday, I was contacted by a locksmith who had been in conversation with a ‘crime prevention’ website I’d never heard of.
This is his email to me, thinking that it had been me who had made the phone call to him:
Hi I received a phone call and agreed to put our business in the magazine I was told I would receive a copy of our advert and the magazine in a week or so just wondering where it was up to and if I could see it?
Naturally I wrote back and said it certainly wasn’t me and was he sure this magazine was genuine.
He wrote back:
Hi, sorry, but could I send you an email they have sent me so you could see if it is real or not or is there an email address I could send this to as they want £195 off me in two weeks?
He sent me the email with an attached ‘advert’ which said this:
We are proud to present you with your proof copy of artwork for inclusion in your publication. We trust that the proof is accurate and that there will be no need for amendments to be made. However if you do wish to make any changes then for your convenience we can now take these instructions by telephone, fax or email. Any amendments will be made completely free of charge so please ensure that telephone numbers, website/email addresses, postal address etc are correct. Please be aware that unless we receive notification of any amendments to the attached copy within 5 days from the postmark date we will proceed with this copy. This campaign is now completed. Please remember, your space in the magazine is now booked, and although this proof may be amended, it is not subject to approval and cancellations can no longer be accepted as per our terms and conditions.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for your act of kindness and support, we wish you all the very best. [Act of kindness? - what's that all about?]
0800 019 8603
(Note the telephone number and no name given)
I did a quick check on the 0800 phone number at www.shouldianswer.co.uk and found the following remarks:
Claims to be from a crime prevention agency in merseyside, has facebook and twitter accounts. website is registered in america, and is non traceable. facebook has links to irish police forces not local, there is no busines profile, registration or official listing of the company/organisation at the address. Calls himself Liam, wants money for advertising
Contacted me and was very convincing. at first i was taken in by the website but became dubious about the content, only adding links, nobody has actually seen the magazine, there is a scamaware listed for the website. anyone can set up an 0800 number and have it diverted to there mobile, again, not traceable.
I then visited their website and found the following:
Here is the site, http://www.ncpa.tv/ but don’t download anything from it.
What’s odd about the website?
- The URL ends in .tv (See Wiki about .tv); a bit odd for a supposedly UK based website
- NCPA stands for National Crime Prevention Association, which actually is a long-standing US organisation and certainly does not seem to be anything to do with this site
- Overuse of police pictures
- Odd use of English language:
Example 1: We are proud to give the option to view our most recent publications free of charge. By clicking on the covers (Don’t do it) you can read our magazines as an ezine. [Proud? and I had to look up 'ezine']
Example 2: The magazine will focus on the work of the police, ambulance and fire service, but will also pay homage to the outstanding work carried out by the other emergency workers.......[Pay homage? - now this is getting to be a bit silly!]
Example 3:Read their strange stuff about so-called 'Stable Watch' in the tab ‘Publications’, but don’t download.
- Errors in layout
Example: Same paragraph used twice on the tab ‘About us’
- Incomplete site
Example: The tab marked 'Frequently Asked Questions' doesn't have any answers!
- Google maps shows a different company occupying the address given on the site (but it may be a suite of offices)
- No cookie message, no contact name and only a 0845 telephone number, no terms and conditions, not a lot of anything really.
- They also have a facebook page, which just reposts people’s posts.
Whoever this is, and I’ve got to be careful what I say, they make unsolicited telephone calls to get you to take an advert out on a magazine (I’ve not heard of it by the way) and want £195 for that service.
If you have heard about this NCPA please get in touch with me, because none of it sounds right
I could have investigated this even more and no doubt would have turned up other inconsistencies. However, my message to everyone and to businesses is not to deal with cold callers – period!
From a concerned, genuine, crime prevention website operator who is getting a little fed up with websites of this kind. (Obviously this is not the first time I’ve had an email from a concerned business owner)