Had another couple of calls recently from another one of these scammers selling insurance/cover for your sky box. As usual they pretend they are calling from your existing provider (Sky Protect) and try to trick you into signing up with them. As is usually the case with these scammers, there is no actual service, they just take your money for nothing.
In this case they seemed to know that I had not had any problems or made any claims in the last 4 months, and as a result I am now a “low risk” customer, so they can offer me a cheaper plan. I was wise to this scam immediately having dealt with so many of these calls in the past, and as soon as I challenged the woman for trying to mislead me she became angry and tried to deny everything she had just said to me. I mean how thick must you be if you think that is going to work ?
What does concern me though is how these people are getting hold of my sky account details and history in the first place, the only place to get these details is from sky themselves or from Domestic and General who provide their insurance service.
Here are some of the numbers I have found associated with this company:
Company Owner: MR EDWARD PREEDY
There are many of these companies about using the same illegal practices. Check out these reports from BBC weatchdog on the subject.
Domestic & General don’t care either
In case you do not know, Domestic and General is the authorized and approved provider of sky protection, they provide this service via www.skyprotect.com, but D&G actually provide warranty/repair services for many other companies and products as well.
I contacted skyprotect.com to ask them how these scammers are getting hold of their customers details, but sadly did do not care at all that these scammers have their customers details and are pretending to be them, and would not even discuss it, and said that they would open a complaint for me, but that is pretty much all they would do. As this was the only option given to me that might get someone to speak to me, I let them go ahead and open a complaint.
Sadly nobody made any effort to contact me to discuss it or do any investigation whatsoever, all I got was a completely apathetic letter from Hayley Widdowson telling me that she had looked at my account (wow, how helpful) and my complaint has not been upheld based on, well nothing. Below are the key parts of her letter in blue and my response.
Dear Ms Widdowson,
I must say I am very disappointed by your response dated 9th September, which after 12 paragraphs of evasive waffle, still does nothing whatsoever to answer my original question.
I will address your response in-line below.
Following your complaint raised on 07 September 2015 regarding Sky equipment covered by Policy [removed]. I am writing to you as I have now concluded my investigations and I am sorry to inform you that your complaint has not been upheld.
Well thank you so much for informing me that my complaint has not been upheld, however I never actually made any complaint, I asked you a simple question “how are these companies obtaining the details about my account with you”. It was your web support team who refused to answer my question and insisted on lodging it as a complaint as the only way I would get a response from anyone.
1. Your complaint
My understanding of your complaint is that a telephone call has been made to you from a third party regarding your Sky equipment. You are unhappy as this company had full information regarding your Sky Protect policy and are concerned that your personal data has not been handled securely.
It was a question, not a complaint, but roughly yes, I asked you to tell me how they are getting this information about my account with you. So despite understanding the question, you have still failed to actually answer it.
I have reviewed the history of your policy and found that this agreement has been in force since [date removed]. Cover was originally provided under plan [removed] and under this policy reference from [date removed] onwards. Your protection has been paid by Direct Debit Since its inception meaning that it renews automatically each year; this also means that you Should not expect contact by phone from our agents regarding payment or renewal of your cover.
I am not sure why you are providing me with this information about when my account was setup etc, I did not at any point ask for this information, as clearly you SHOULD have this information as my account is with you. And again reviewing the history of my policy has nothing to do with the original question, which still remains unanswered.
I am able to confirm that there is only one extended warranty scheme that is approved and operated under the Sky brand name. This is Sky Protect which is provided on behalf of Sky by Domestic & General Insurance PLC. Whilst independent companies can legitimately offer extended warranties on digital satellite equipment these companies and their products are not connected to Sky or in any way endorsed by Sky.
Thank you again for more information unrelated to my question, but I did already know all of this.
Additionally it is illegal for companies other than Domestic and General to state or imply that they are approved by Sky to sell extended warranty products.
And yet knowing full well that this illegal activity is going on and has been going on for years, you do not seem remotely concerned about it or the fact that your customers details are finding their way into these scammers hands. Your teams previous replies to my emails and your own letter is proof enough of your complete nonchalance on the matter.
Please be assured that Sky does not provide customer data to any company other than Domestic & General for extended warranty purposes and that we do not supply our customer data to any independent companies.
Then please pray tell , how do these companies have my details and the details of your other customers if the only person who has them is you ? If you are not selling/providing the data to 3rd parties, then basic common sense leaves one other option, which is that your data/security has been compromised and the data has been taken.
If you are still concerned regarding the conduct of this independent company our advice in these circumstances would be to complain to the Trading Standards department of your local council, to refer to the BBC website for details of independent companies which have been featured on BBC Watchdog or refer this matter to your local police force.
What is of concern to me now and should be a concern to any of your customers is your complete nonchalance about the security of your customer data and the fact that this data is clearly in the hands of third parties, or how it got there. Also your blatant refusal to answer a straight forward question or actually investigate the matter, instead opting to turn it into a complaint just so that you can evade the question and fob it off as “not upheld”. This distinctly smells of “trying to hide something”.
As per my investigation findings Sky and Domestic & General do not supply customer data to independent companies. As there has been no breach of the Data Protection Act with regards to your personal information I am unable to uph01d your complaint.
There is absolutely nothing in your letter to indicate that any investigation whatsoever has taken place with regard to the security of your data or any possible breach of that security or theft of the data. All you have shown is that you looked at my account and then relayed back to me my own information from my own acocunt, which is not only irrelevant to the original question or issue, but I am sorry to inform you that this does not in any way constitute an investigation into data security by any stretch of the imagination i’m afraid. I would highly recommend that you make the effort to speak with an actual security specialist or at least someone in your I.T. dept who at least has some clue how to perform a proper investigation.
I had no intention of making such a complaint, this was your choice, but as you have of your own volition turned my simple question into a complaint and have clearly demonstrated your total indifference to the matter and unwillingness to actually investigate it, I will take your advice and pass this on to trading standards.
I will also be posting a copy of your letter and my response on my blog for the benefit of others also being affected by this ongoing scam.