TalkTalk has admitted that a security breach has resulted in a spate of spam calls and emails.
Unlike usual scam calls, which many of us deal with on a weekly basis, these were lent an air of authenticity by the caller’s seemingly in-depth knowledge of the peoples’ TalkTalk account.
The scammers telephone TalkTalk customers claiming to be an engineer or customer service rep, calling to rectify a problem. Attempts to access personal information such as credit card numbers and banking details were then made.
The Guardian reports that Graeme Smith of Chester-le-Street was defrauded of £2,815 by the scammers. TalkTalk has responded by setting up a dedicated helpline for affected customers – 0800 083 2710 – and has been directly advising affected customers.
A TalkTalk spokesperson said: “At the end of last year, we saw an increase in malicious scammers preying on our customers. In a small number of cases, customers told us that the criminals were quoting their TalkTalk account number as well as their phone number.
“We are aware of a small, but nonetheless significant, number of customers who have been directly targeted by these criminals and we have been supporting them directly.”
TalkTalk’s spokesperson reiterated that the ISP never asks subscribers to share bank details and account numbers over the phone. In an email sent out to customers, TalkTalk detailed a list of simple instructions to avoid getting scammed:
- TalkTalk will NEVER call customers and use an account number to identify you or prove that the call is genuine.
- TalkTalk will NEVER call customers and ask them to provide bank details unless we have already had specific permission from you to do so.
- TalkTalk will NEVER call you and ask you to download software onto your computer, unless you have previously contacted TalkTalk, discussed and agreed a call back for this to take place.
- TalkTalk will NEVER send you emails asking you to provide your full password. We will only ever ask two digits from it to protect your security.
TalkTalk customers can also make use of the company’s HomeSafe service, which is designed to block out unwanted sales calls.