Today I had a call from ‘The Child Safety Initiative’. The woman who called had a northern accent and said she’d “spoken to Lindsey back in February”, and Lindsey had agreed to sponsor a campaign to education children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

When I said I had no recollection of speaking to her and hadn’t agreed to sponsor anyone she asked if I was Lindsey Harris. When I confirmed I was, she reiterated that, oh yes, we’d spoken in February and M35 Web Design had agreed to sponsor their publication for a one-off cost, instead of their five-yearly sponsorship deal. The cost of this ‘sponsorship’? £125 + VAT.

Me: “Why are you calling me from a withheld number?”
“I’m not”.
“You are.
“I’m not”.
“Yes you are. Where are you located?”
“What’s your phone number?”
“01250…” Slam and she put the phone down.

The Child Safety Initiative (and similar pretend publications) are scams have been around for a long time. In another variant the scammers pretend to be from the fire service and also have a book they want sponsorship for.

Below is a good example of the Child Safety Initiative scam call I received today. Word for word it’s almost the same scripted call as I received today, apart from the ending. The recording was made two years ago, so you can see how these scams persist.

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