Revisiting a very regular subject, here's the news on a couple of the recent cons doing the rounds. United Telecom, which claims to run the International Trade & Business Database, has been trying to chase Jignesh Patel in North-west London for £365 for a listing. The form is actually addressed to Jignesh's father, who passed away some years ago, so one would not be inspired by their up-to-date listing abilities.

Jess Parkin, who runs Johnny's Tobacconist in Newquay, had been troubled by a ratings specialist from Bolton. The company claimed it had been instructed by the council and it wanted £400 for doing nothing. I gave Jess some advice on this and he has now reported back that, after three more calls and some heavy threats, it has now gone quiet.

And finally, here's one that hasn't quite hit our shores yet. In the States and Canada, an Australian so-called lottery company has been contacting people telling them they've won $75,000. The company tells the lucky winner that there will be taxes to pay and so it is sending them a cheque for $50,000 to cover expenses. When recipients get their cheques and pay them in, they take quite a while to bounce. Meanwhile, some of them have forwarded cash by Western Union for the taxes.