Police have warned of phone scams doing the rounds and ask that people be vigilant about the information they give to strangers.
Scams come in various guises, from pretending there's a problem with your computer, to charlatans who say they are from your bank, or a Government agency.
Don't be fooled.
If you are in doubt take a name and call the agency back. Don't use the number they give you – look it up yourself so you are sure that you are contacting a legitimate place. Chances are they will have never heard of the person who rang you.
What police did not warn about – and they have no reason to – is the use of phones for marketing.
What once used to be a private pipeline into the sanctity of your home is nowadays a conduit for the unscrupulous to peddle their wares.
There are things people can do to mitigate these calls – caller ID for example may help you decide whether or not to answer – especially if the incoming call has a long number indicating it is coming from overseas.
But that does not help the calls that come late at night, or in the small hours, which wakes – and understandably may alarm you – as such calls are usually only received during some sort of emergency.
Landlines are a dying species these days as people elect to ditch them in favour of the more portable and versatile mobile phones.
These seem to attract fewer scam and marketing calls, but are not immune.
Nonetheless unless the telcos can come up with a way of reducing nuisance calls to landlines – like Gmail filters spam email – then the case for owning a landline is becoming increasingly weak.
And if you find yourself plagued by a persistent caller, perhaps sing them a song.
It worked for us recently. You'd understand if you heard me sing.