I just returned home to East Kent for the weekend as my mum’s birthday is coming up.
About 5 minutes after I get in the door she told me about a nuisance caller. Fortunately her head is screwed on pretty well and she knows not to give these people any information and tends to ask to be taken off their list asap, after asking where they got our number (we’re ex-directory).
However, this wasn’t the usual ‘can we send a window cleaner?‘ or recorded ‘you’ve won a massive yacht!‘ type thing.
Apparently the guy, called ‘Gloster‘ or something to that effect, was calling from ‘the Wellness Centre‘.
We have something like that here – though not where the call came from – and I might pop in to see what they’re offering because the sign outside is emblazoned with CHIROPRACTOR and a list including Yoga, Massage and even X-Ray. Unfortunately that lovely orange sign isn’t on Google Maps, but there’s also an osteopathy clinic directly opposite, interestingly.
Anyway, the call.
He was asking probing questions about my mum’s physical health.
We’re talking to people in our area over 50… any aches and pains?
She insisted she wasn’t going to divulge any such information. He seemed surprised that she didn’t even have arthritis and continued to press for info, moving on to asking about my dad and continuing along the arthritis route.
Are you aware the medication your doctor gives you won’t cure it?
To which she replied yes, of course – nothing cures it.
Natural remedies can control it and stop it spreading
At which point she asks if he’s promoting homeopathy and things and she’s not interested because it’s been proven not to work (trained her well it seems!!).
Other people have had similar experiences:
The caller asked me if I had arthritis to which I answered no, and then any other health problems. Again I said no and she asked me my secret! I asked her for more details of what the call was about and she rambled something about health and senior citizens. I said I wasn’t a senior citizen (I’m 46) and she immediately hung up without another word.
Unfortunately she couldn’t get any more information about them; he declined to give her a number to phone back ‘in case she had some questions’ but amusingly did not withold the number: 0208 619 0746, which is more of a Croydon area number than the Midlands or anywhere else.
A quick interweb search brings up this page (where I found the above account) of people asking what this number is. There are some pretty disturbing accounts on there. Some commenters managed to get the company information by pretending to be interested:
Sanda Wellbeing Ltd is VAT registered and our number is: GB 925 6675 90
The full name of our company is Sanda Wellbeing Ltd
We are registered in England and Wales under registration number 06377623
Our address is 3, Montpelier Avenue, Bexley, Kent, DA5 3AP
You can contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Though a comment on the last page posts details of the distribution companies being struck off last month, and they seem to have another address or two. Yorkshire NHS lists them as a scam.
One person theorises:
My asumption is that this is the payback for having all our medical records shipped to india for data entry purposes
Possible? More importantly, can we shut them down? The suggestion is to contact the local Trading Standards:
Bexley Heath Trading Standards Office:
2a Hadlow Road
This is horrendous abuse of personal information (almost everyone states that their names were used, though they got our family name slightly wrong, they clearly have this info to hand), direct marketing of dodgy ‘products’ to vulnerable individuals and an obvious scam.
I’ll go as far as to bring this back to the ongoing campaign to make the general public more aware of the inefficacy of alternative medicine and the fact that there are people out there who are aware of this and using people’s trust of natural and holistic treatments to make money.
If people were more clued-up on evidence-based medicine and the layers of bullshit that a lot of alt med is built on, more people would be able to spot when they’re being had.
I would advise, if you are concerned about your relatives receiving such calls (even if they subscribe to TPS), that the following numbers are blocked: 01280730030; 02086190070-02086190075 inclusive; and 02086190746.
I’m sure there are lots of these sorts of things, but the very direct questioning and suggestion of ineffective medical treatment from GPs, plus offering expensive rubbish to ‘control and prevent spread’ of serious diseases – scary stuff.