I had a most revelatory phone call this morning. This is not verbatim, but it's the gist.
" Is that Mr. Lear? This is Central Mortgages."
" You applied for a mortgage and I'm going to take you through security and your application."
" No I didn't"
" Apply for a mortgage"
" Oh, must have been a personal loan then."
" No, I didn't. Where did you get my 'phone number?"
" Er da-di-da says here customer servicies 5033"
" What does that mean?"
" It means you applied for a loan"
" No, I did NOT!"
" Well you must have done, I've got your details here."
" I'm only going to say this once more - I did not apply for any kind of loan."
" Well, Mr. Lear, let me just say that as a preferred customer, we can give you £5000 immediately, provided you qualify.."
" How can I be a preferred customer if I've never heard of you, never asked for a loan, nor, I may say, given you my phone number?"
"That's as may be sir, but I can assure you we have £5000 just waiting for you.. let me put you through to the lady who will actually give you the money.." click.
" Hello? Hello?"
Click. " Hello, Mr. Lear, this is Sandra here. I'm terribly sorry you are quite correct, you are not a customer of ours so we can only give you £50 to £500 as a new customer....."
" But I don't want a loan."
"... and the APR is a very reasonable 222.5% made up of ..
" WHAT? 225%? Are you mad? Even credit cards aren't any more than about 30 odd%!"
".. and for your security and protection this conversation is being recorded.."
I put the phone down at that point.
But I'm willing to bet that there must be people who take up this sort of offer.
But how did they get my phone number?
After digging around a bit, I discovered that there is a company that collates mobile numbers. Obviously, not pay as you go, but those that are on contract can be " tagged" with a name.
And they sell this information to whoever wants it.
Makes you wish for 1984.