Two of the oldest scams around are still going strong, I see. In the past week I’ve had calls from John Maxwell Jones at Goudhurst in Kent and Peter Smith at Sutton Benger Post Office near Chippenham.

John has had European City Guide offering their listings to him costing 3 x 987 Euros. The company, despite being closed several times by the courts, still dodges about in Valencia, but has used a UK agent to do its mailings here. The terms and conditions printed on the back of the form are almost too pale to read. If you get one of these forms, I suggest you forward it to your local Trading Standards Office.

Peter was taken aback to get a chatty Mr Friendly on the phone thanking him for the £220 he had pledged back in February to help sponsor publication of drugs awareness books in his local school. Since Peter’s local school is a primary, without any discernible drugs problem, and since he works alone and therefore takes all phone calls himself and since his memory is not failing, he was damn sure he hadn’t agreed to sponsor anything.

The bloke got quite pushy, saying he had a transcript of Peter’s verbal agreement. Peter said ‘Send it to me.’ He adds: “This was a bluff designed to immediately put you off guard. But I called his bluff.” There can only be one reason why companies such as these are still out there: people are still falling for it. So take note and, especially in the latter case, tell your staff in case they answer the phone and assume you agreed to something you had not.