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TalkTalk scam calls and how to protect yourself

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Over the past few months we've helped a number of people who found themselves victims of scam calls and phishing, with some losing significant amounts of money as a result of their PC being compromised by the scammers. With this in mind we're going to write a number of blog posts over the next couple weeks addressing the more common scams, offering tips on how to spot them and explaining how to better protect yourself.

The first scam we'll address is one that we see most often: the TalkTalk scam call.

As many people will be aware, TalkTalk have themselves suffered a number of security breaches that has led to customers' data being accessed by third parties. The scammers use TalkTalk account details to convince victims that the call is genuine, usually gain remote access to their PC and then install a trojan or other types of malware that allow access to bank accounts.

As the scammers develop more sophisticated methods it's becoming more difficult to tell a scam call from a genuine one. If you follow the advice below you should be able to ensure that you don't fall victim to this particular ruse:

  • TalkTalk customers can enable CallSafe by calling 1472 from their TalkTalk landline or via the TalkTalk website. CallSafe is not infallible and scammers may still be able to reach you, but it should reduce the number of call that you're likely to receive
  • If you do receive a call from someone claiming to be a TalkTalk representative immediately request a call reference number, hang up the telephone, make absolutely certain that the call has been terminated and then call TalkTalk's customer services department on 0345 172 0088. Explain the circumstances surrounding your call and TalkTalk will be able to verify whether they did indeed contact you
  • DO NOT take a phone number from the caller and then return the call. It's important to call TalkTalk's customer services department using the number they provide on their website (0345 172 0088)
  • DO NOT visit a website and enter a code when prompted. This is undoubtedly an attempt to gain remote access to your computer
  • DO NOT provide any bank details over the phone unless you have called TalkTalk yourself. TalkTalk may in rare circumstances ask for bank details over the phone but will be happy for you to ask for a reference number, hang up and call their customer services department to verify the call
  • Scammers are able to spoof UK landline numbers and even TalkTalk's contact numbers, so an inbound call from 0345 172 0088 may not be what it seems. Always end the call and dial TalkTalk's number as it appears on their website or on your bill
  • If you have identified a scammer you can report the number. If they are persistently calling you, dial 14258 from your TalkTalk landline to prevent further calls

At risk of sounding like we're repeating ourselves... hang up, make sure the call is properly terminated and call TalkTalk using their number as it appears on their website. This simple bit of advice will in almost all cases prevent you from becoming a victim of a scam.

A couple other methods scammers occasionally use:

  • If someone claiming to be a TalkTalk representative calls you to process a 'refund', follow the golden rule: hang up, call TalkTalk
  • You may receive an automated call asking you to press a number to speak to an engineer or TalkTalk representative. Simply hang up - this is a premium rate number scam. A similar scam involves a voicemail being left encouraging you to call an 0845 or 0843 number

If in doubt, give us a call - we're happy to offer advice over the phone. If you have any concerns that you may have malware installed on your PC or Apple Mac, get in touch as soon as possible. We may be able to remove it before any damage is done. You can either bring your computer to our workshop in Trawden, near Colne, or we can visit you and resolve the issue on-site. We also offer a collect and return service, free if you live in the local area.

Posted by Graham in Advice