June 23rd 2015
Get Safe Online and Dyfed-Powys Police are urging TalkTalk customers to be vigilant to scams which use stolen data and remote computer access to take money from their bank accounts.
Fraudsters are apparently still phoning victims claiming to be from TalkTalk and, by telling them their broadband service has been poor and they are due a rebate, tricking them into going online to download software. This allows the fraudsters to gain remote access to their computer and consequently make whatever changes they want to the computer. The scam is made even more convincing by the fact that the fraudsters have not only stolen customers' phone numbers but also their addresses and TalkTalk account numbers.
The data theft was discovered when the company experienced a spike in complaints about scam calls between October and December last year, and the use of this information in attempts to scam customers and remove money from their accounts has not subsided. We first reported on the incidents in February this year.
Police forces across the country have reported a rise in complaints, including Dyfed-Powys Police which has received 15 reports from worried customers of this nature. In one case, £500 was taken from the victims online bank account. Difficulty also lies in the fact that because the victim has allowed someone to make the changes, it’s even more difficult to receive a refund or any compensation.
DC Gareth Jordan at Dyfed-Powys Police said: “We wanted to warn people in the area to be extra vigilant, as these conmen are incredibly convincing. The scam works on offering money and a quick return. Plus, it sounds so feasible as most people have had trouble with their broadband at one stage or another. Be cautious of anyone who makes phone contact and, however genuine it seems, take steps to verify they are who they say they are.”
Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online said: “The snippets of information the fraudsters already have about us makes this scam particularly believable. We all need to be suspicious of calls from people we don’t know, TalkTalk customer or not. This is not the only company to suffer a data breach so we are all at risk. If the call is supposedly from a reputable company, give them a call back from another phone to make sure. Calling from another phone will avoid you being tricked by the fraudster staying on the line and getting back through to them.”
Customers affected by the hack – including having received scam calls resulting from it – can call a dedicated helpline: 0800 083 2710. TalkTalk has told customers who have been tricked into revealing their confidential banking details should also contact their bank. The company has also posted advice on its help page.
If you have been a victim of this or any other fraud, you should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their online reporting tool at www.actionfraud.police.uk