Recently, I received an e-mail from a company called Rosenberg and Cooper, inviting me to invest in coloured diamonds. Naturally, being a cautious soul, I've learned not to get too excited about such invitations, knowing that if someone is sending spam e-mail like that, they probably aren't likely to be reputable. So, I deleted the e-mail and thought nothing more of it.
At least, I hadn't, until my BlackBerry rang on Friday evening. I picked it up and found that not only do they send spam e-mail, but they do cold calling too. And high quality cold calling it is, with the usual exciting claims of high yields, impending scarcity and occasional references to market developments - the comments on the effect of a new Governor of the Bank of England on inflation were particularly entertaining.
Funnily enough, for a company talking about investments in excess of £10,000, the background noise, akin to that you might expect from a call centre, is hardly that of a bespoke enterprise offering a niche investment product, and the 'patter' is surprisingly pushy for someone attempting to persuade a well-heeled individual, and therefore probably well-educated, to part with a five-figure sum.
Of course, receiving cold calls is much more fun when you can look the caller up on the internet whilst you keep them occupied, and allows you to discover that their website is extremely amateurish, their headquarters is a rented office suite, and that whilst they may claim many decades of experience in the business, the company was only incorporated on 18 December 2012 - yes, less than two months ago.
They are very kindly sending me a brochure, to the address that they have on record for me, an address that I vacated more than three years ago, which implies that they've bought a contact list from somewhere, and were too cheap, or too incompetent, to buy one that had been filtered recently.
So, my advice to anyone who hears from Rosenberg and Cooper is, "avoid like the plague" unless you have so much money that you can afford to throw it away. And even if you do, if you're reading this, I probably have a duty of care towards you...