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TalkTalk hack: ISP clarifies scale of data theft

TalkTalk has confirmed that the number of customers whose personal details have been accessed is 156,959 – significantly less than the ‘less than 1.2 million’ suggested a week earlier

The ISP went on to state that of these customers, 15,656 bank account numbers and sort codes were accessed. 

It’s not clear if these details are the same as those of the 15,000 customers whose dates of birth were leaked as a result of the attack. 

Related: How to create a strong password and TalkTalk customer data hack – What should I do?Given that names, addresses and dates of birth are often used as banks as a means of identifying customers in security questions, it will be particularly worrying for TalkTalk customers to learn that dates of birth have been leaked alongside sort codes and bank account numbers. 

The ‘good’ news is that all of the 28,000 credit and debit card numbers that were accessed cannot be used for financial transactions as the middle six digits were obscured, rendering them useless. 

TalkTalk has said that the numbers were also ‘orphaned,’ meaning they can’t be matched to any customers names. 

Due to the confusion and fear generated by the attack, it’s a possibility that fraudsters armed with customers contact details may attempt to get in touch posing as ‘TalkTalk staff’ in a bid to fill in any data gaps and gain access to customer’s accounts. 

A TalkTalk spokesperson has reiterated that staff will never ask customers to verify financial details over the phone – but said that the ISP will be in contact with affected customers. 

The spokesperson said: “We have now contacted all customers who have had financial details accessed, reiterating our advice on what to do to keep themselves safe. The financial information accessed cannot on its own lead to financial loss. We will be contacting all other affected customers in the coming days.

“We want to make customers aware that we will not call or otherwise contact them regarding this incident and ask for bank details or other financial or personal information.” 

The sales portion of TalkTalk’s website has recently been updated to include a sales number for superfast FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband services and its Plus TV home phone-broadband-YouView bundle.  Previously there were only two hotlines for SimplyBroadband and home phone and Internet service bundles. 

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