If there is one thing guaranteed to raise my blood pressure it is surely those annoying telephone calls claiming to be from (BT/Microsoft/[insert your 'favourite' here]) and warning you that your computer is at risk or that your internet is about to be switched off unless you click 1 to speak to an adviser.
When it comes to calling out scammers for blatant lies and shaming them for criminal actions, no one did it better than a friend of mine BBC Click reporter Kate Russell. In 2011, Kate was told by her parents about a call from a "nice gentleman from an Indian call centre" claiming that their computer was infected with a virus. Russell took the next call herself and recorded the telephone conversation which you can listen to here soundcloud.com/kate-russell/phone-scammer-busted (Reproduced by courtesy of CreativeCommons.org open licence).
The call lasts about 16 minutes and Kate manages to keep a straight face/voice throughout whilst listening to his spiel. Unless you wish, I wouldn't bother listening to all of his rantings but click on the spikes in the sound trace bars (indicating where Kate is speaking). The outcome is hilarious and should be required listening for anyone tempted to respond to one of these bogus calls.
Remember that reputable companies will not cold call you like this. BT does NOT arbitrarily switch off people's internet connections (unless they have given prior warning for something like non-payment of bills). Remember that scam callers have not singled you out for any particular reason; they are simply ringing their way down a long list of numbers. Remember NEVER to agree to type in a series of numbers or a code to allow them access. If your phone is provided by BT set up their free Call Protect service which enables you to block the last call to your phone. Other providers have similar schemes.
I have always wondered why shops sell goods for (say) £5.99 instead of a nice round whole number of pounds. The reason of course is to make you think that the item is cheaper because it is only £5 something instead of £6. I suppose I can live with that as long as I can get one penny change when paying in cash and am only charged the exact 99p if paying by card. However, two things get me thinking.
First, how much longer is the one penny coin going to be legal tender? I am sure that it costs more to produce and circulate than it is worth and its days must be numbered. But I also guess that, even if the Bank of England decides to dispense with the one penny coin, retailers and the British Chamber of Commerce will try to delay its implementation as long as possible because it will make their products look more expensive. They cannot still price goods as £x.99 as you will not be able to have a 1p change and that would be illegal trading. I seem to recall that, when some continental countries had large denomination currencies where they couldn't give exact change, they would give you a sweet to make up for it.
My second thought, however, concerns that ridiculous point 9 of a penny on all prices at petrol stations (such as 123.9p per litre). If you buy 5 litres the total cost should be £6.195 = six pounds and 19 and a half pence. However, there is no such currency as a halfpenny now so it is highly likely that the machine will round it up to £6.20. If the petrol station dispenses (say) 40 litres per car and there are (say) 200 cars every 24 hours that makes a total of 8000 litres. If every 5 litres makes the garage 1 halfpenny that equals 1600 halfpennies which is £8. Multiply that across the country and that's an awful lot of extra money - quite a bit of which will go to the Government in fuel duty.