/ Technology

Scam watch: broadband phone scam cost me nearly £5,000

phonetrap with scamwatch logo

Someone phones to help fix a problem with your broadband and then they offer you a refund for the problems you’ve had. Sound too good to be true? Sadly, it is.

A Which? member told us: I had a call from someone who said he was phoning from TalkTalk to sort out a problem with my broadband. The caller seemed genuine as he had my name, address and account number.

After accessing my PC remotely, he said I was entitled to a refund of £200 for the problems I’d had. Using remote access software, he directed me to my Santander online bank account, where it appeared that he had credited £5,000 into my account in error.

The caller told me to send the money back, which I did using MoneyGram. But I have since found out that it was a scam. He had directed me to a copycat website. Is there anything I can do?

What we said about the ‘TalkTalk’ phone scam

We say: It’s a common tactic for fraudsters to try and convince people they work for a telecoms provider, but TalkTalk customers need to be especially vigilant.

The company had a wealth of customer data, including names, addresses and account numbers, stolen at the end of last year, so scammers may have more ammunition to convince people their call is genuine.

TalkTalk told us it was aware of this type of phone scam, but was unable to refund your lost money as it was not involved.

Your bank, Santander, also said there was nothing it could do as it was not involved in the transfer.

The Information Commissioner’s Office told us that the TalkTalk data breach ‘has been reported and we are making enquiries… [but] can’t comment at this stage’.

TalkTalk told us: ‘We take our customers’ security seriously, although we know a small number of customers are being targeted by phone scammers, using a limited amount of customer data that was accessed illegally.

‘No sensitive information, like bank account or credit card details, was accessed. We have written to all our customers twice to warn them about phone scams, and we are working with other telecoms companies and banks to raise awareness.’

Have you been contacted by a scam similar to this? Did you lose any money?

Comments
Kirsty says:
19 October 2016

Just literally had this call just now claiming to be from talktalk technical and that there has been warnings on my IP address , luckily I knew in an instant with the overdramatic laughs in the background trying to sound like a call centre I asked for them to provide talk talk customer service number as I believe they were a scam and I would phone back this is were they got quiet pushy and aggressive so hung up they called back asking “why did you just hang up on me” they are actually comically obvious in there approach. Called talk talk and surprise surprise they never called my younger self would have defiantly been convinced so glad I spotted it.

Sheila Hartopp says:
5 November 2016

I get 2/3 scam calls a day saying there is a problem with my computer
The first time I thought he was genuine & switched it on as he asked, but luckily I realized it was a scam before giving out any information.
Now I very quickly put the phone down

Gerry says:
27 November 2016

Still trying it on I received a call on Wednesday afternoon they had my account number and postcode I smelt a rat but went along with it the scammer insisted I turned my PC on but I acted like a complete prat pretending it was my daughters computer and didn’t know how to switch it on and had never used a computer in my life it was hilarious listening to the frustration in her voice.

keith says:
28 November 2016

I had a call on my answer phone today stating that there had been suspicious activity on my internet connection and that a law suite would be issued against me. You can imagine I was very concerned as there are family teenagers using my internet (Although I do have parental control activated). An hour later I had a call from a supposedly Talk Talk Technical person stating that my computer had been infected and they need to download TeamViewer to access my computer to rectify the fault. I was a bit suspicious but having received the previous phone call I wanted to clear things up. However, I got suspicious about things when they offered me a refund of £200 for the problem which had occurred and stupidly I let them access my on-line bank account. They then transferred £5200 from one of my deposits and said they had made a mistake and requested me to send a Money Gram to recover the £5000 to them in Senegal. My bank notified me of this proposal and I stopped all online internet activity and spoke with my bank who said that the transaction was stoped in time and I did not lose any money. However, I have changed all my bank cards and removed TeamView and Opera browser from my computer as well as carrying out a full scan for virus. Is there anything else I need to do?

You will need to remove Team Viewer from the Registry Keith , as well as change ALL your passwords INCLUDING your log into Windows . For a start download the programme -Everything -NOT from cnet ! and run it >top left input teamviewer it will tell you where its located >delete. , get back if you have problems.

Here you go Keith a bit more detail to do it manually -BTW -DONT buy any apps to do it DIY == files- tv.dll- TeamViewer_ Service_exe–TeamViewer_Host_exe—- DLL,s to remove -tv.dll –Team Viewer processes to KILL –TeamViewer_Service.exe—TeamViewer_Host.exe —REGISTRY removals—- RUNNING PROGRAMTeamViewer_Host.exe –RUNNING PROGRAMTeam Viewer_Service.exe—RUNNING PROGRAMexplorer.exe –HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTeamViewer 3/4/5 etc –RUNNING PROGRAM explorer.exe . As you see it gets everywhere in Windows . PLEASE ! screenshot and archive this as I dont want to keep repeating it .

gareth thomas says:
8 December 2016

Had a call today about a faulty router

Margaret says:
24 January 2017

I have just been called with what seems to be this scam. I thought it was probably a scam so I advised that I had had no such problems the line went dead.

The caller seems to be calling from: 0141 458 7695.

Is there an official place I can report this number to in case it might help investigations?

Terry says:
23 February 2017

We are still getting around 10 calls a day we have played music to them left them hanging on for 30’mins blown a whistle down the line but nothing seems to stop them talk talk is a waste of time as I have asked them to monitor my line as the calls come up as private caller but this can be anyone I once shouted down the line to find it was one of my wife’s friends phone her I am now attempted to get one of my old laptop out infect it with as many virus as possible and give them access to it with the hope that it would infect their network

Rod MacKenzie says:
20 March 2017

My Father-in-Law was contacted by “Dave” from Technical Services Department of Talktalk.
Yes, you’ve already guessed refund offered for poor service £600 was credited to him, instead £6000 was allegedly paid to him via “Dummy Website” He was asked to repay the £5400 back via MoneyGram. As the Post Office only accept MoneyGram transfers to a maximum of £1800 per day he was asked to go to other Post Offices to pay the remaining £3600.
This is a despicable scam on an 87 year old man with heart problems, stressful to him and his immediate family. Whilst Santander did not help the person who posted this original comment I would like to congratulate Barclays for moving quickly and efficiently to stop the transfers of the monies going through!
MoneyGram do have a way of stopping monies fraudulently claimed by scammers providing you understand their complex system of money retrieval.
As for Talktalk their Customer Services team should be ashamed of themselves for dismissing my Father-in-Laws complaint as it was not their fault the Fraudster phoned my Father-in-Law with Customer information “Hacked” from their computer.
Something should be done about the arrogance of Broadband Service Companies like Talktalk who like taking Customers Fees without Securing Customer data first!

Kaeren says:
23 March 2017

My husband was scammed today, in much the same way. The caller said our Talk Talk router had a virus, they would replace it, and pay compensation. Stupidly, it sounded quite kosher to my husband, they knew quite a few details, so instead of thinking, they should already have bank account details, he readily gave them, and because they ‘could not get through to our bank’, they said they would do a Western Union transfer, yeah they did, out not in, over £400 most of what was in there, our bank was alerted when they tried to take a second chunk, but not enough was in there, too late though, the first amount is gone, and we have nothing to live on for the next four weeks. Husband is 71 and does not always think on his feet, I smelled a rat, but he insisted it was OK. It seems to always be Talk Talk involved, so I reckon info is being leaked to scammers, probably for money .

Kaeren – Talk-Talk has had plenty of massive leaks , those leaks should be publicized more . If you have not seen or heard about them in the national media then I personally would be very worried about what going on in our national press and TV media. For those doubting me in ANY way I can supply verified sources data from a long list of upmarket tech websites to check out . I have said this before along with 100,s of posters on Which website -HMG its time this was stamped out-completely !

edward smith says:
20 May 2017

i have 2 accounts with talk talk
home and shop
i have had over 100 scam calls and still on going i now will
not accept any one selling ,or reporting anything .
only problem is im putting phone down on genuine calls

Philip Ashby says:
23 June 2017

My mother is 84 and when I dropped in one day recently she was on to someone claiming to be from Talk Talk. She had just got as far as giving her bank details. I took over the call, got rid of the scammer and she was able to call her bank immediately to prevent any loss. It has happened again today and I have advised her to cancel her contract with them as they clearly have a security breach that allows personal information to leave their system.

lillian says:
20 September 2017

i dont understand why this scam is still going on, these scammers have tried to con me several times now , TalkTalk know that this is going on and refuse to accept responsibility even though the reason these fraudsters have our details in the first place is because of a breach on their part, but the only people who seem to be aware of this scam going on are the people who have fell victim to these fraudsters … Why are Talk Talk not making their customers aware of this

Good question Lillian and as it happened towards the end of -2015 I checked to see if I could find a website with a non-technical but detailed answer . As usual you have got to hand it to the Americans no bull , no secrets just – as it is . They give a timeline on it including Talk-Talk posting admittance they were hacked its informative to those not wanting tech . details Lillian, click on https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/security-data-protection/cyber-security/the-talk-talk-breach-timeline-of-a-hack/

Claire says:
8 August 2018

My 75 year old mother has just been conned out of £11,400 from this scam. We are heartbroken. It took them two days to absolutely confuse her, manipulate her and clear out her bank account. She is traumatised by the experience.

Stan says:
17 January 2019

First thing is… STAY CALM they hate that 🙂
My friend kept getting calls so I said when I am here next time and you get a call hand the phone to me which she did..
Yes, you guessed it, it was from Talk Talk, NOT. I must add the old saying “If it sounds to good to be true it usually is”
Anyway I asked for the phone number as usual it was a withheld number… He gave me a bogus number which I said I would check on line before we went any further. I asked for an address of his Talk Talk company he was calling from He told me 81 Newgate I asked for a post code which he gave me also. I said so the address you are (which he claimed to be in London) and the post code you have just given me means you are 3 doors away from where I live… Shall I call around so we can chat face to face, after what I can only describe as a spluttering motorboat engine, He then proceeded to scream down the phone that he is a technician and said he will cut my internet and phone connection off today if I don’t give me the information I require. I then said go ahead I was changing my ISP anyway… STAY CLAM 🙂 and why are you shouting at me are you getting upset because I won’t give you my bank details or be part of your scam?… that’s not very good customer service is it? He shouted more abuse at me and disconnected the call without even a goodbye, how rude lol
Listen people, just play along with them let them say all they have to say and pretend you are doing as they ask as they are paying for the call (but DO NOT log onto the site they give you) I am retired so it gave me an excuse to stop what I was working on and have a coffee break and a sandwich …
Good Luck and Stay Safe 🙂

Chris says:
4 February 2019

in 2011 TalkTalk outsourced some of its call centre work to the Kolkata office of Wipro in India. About 40 Wipro employees had access to thousands of Talk Talk customer records and three of those Wipro employees used their privileges to steal 21,000 customer account records. These records were passed to criminals operating at at least three call centres in India where staff work in shifts earning about £120 a month to phone Talk Talk customers using the stolen data. The ICO actually fined Talk Talk £100,000.00 because of this in 2017. That did not stop the activities of the criminals in their offices in India though. Since mid 2015 I have had more than a thousand calls from these particular scammers, sometimes more than one call a day. My latest one was 30th January 2019. Why have these people not been closed down? They have been doing this for years. What has been/is being done to try and stop them?

DerekP says:
4 February 2019

As described here:

which.co.uk/news/2017/12/exclusive-which-meets-the-people-behind-the-tech-support-scam-calls/

running these scams has become a thriving industry.

Although I’ve seen some reports of Indian police making arrests and prosecutions, clearly many scammers are still operating.

Hence, across the UK, I think we all need to raise our game when it comes to reporting and prosecuting scams.

An interesting article DerekP, I first posted here in 2015 and are still getting the calls and they are a sophisticated set up as even the referees whistle failed to stop the calls. Most now are an automated message and I just hang up and then use Talktalk’s number barring service (14258), I also report them on line to Talktalk’s scam page. Either they are getting fed up ringing me or all the effort is slowly working as the frequency is down to about one every ten days rather than one, sometimes two a day.

As you say we all need to raise our game against these scammers and from a talktalk customers point they can be reported here.
https://community.talktalk.co.uk/t5/Check-and-Report/bd-p/check-and-report

The more we report the more we fight back, they have to run out of scam numbers one day!!

Paul Bowman says:
28 February 2019

I had a similar experience to that of Joe Elvin . In my case £3200 was supposedly lodged into my account.

When I mentioned the overpayment of £ 3000 to the supposed employee of Talktalk he told me that I had to make the repayment immediately. The method was bizarre and at this point I realised that I had been almost taken in by the attempted fraud. He wanted me to give him my mobile number, I was then asked to go to Tesco and buy I Tune cards. He would then call me and I was supposed to read out to him the numbers on the back of the I Tunes cards. I knew then that the whole episode was fraudulent, I told him that he was a thief and ………the line went dead.

My bank (First Trust) were excellent in immediately closing the online account. I have since reopened it but with completely new passwords etc

RedMist says:
2 April 2019

I received a call today purportedly, “from TalkTalk” reference my broadband. Even though I had a TalkTalk phone account 3 years ago their Broadband never worked and as it was a “bolt-on” in the bundle it was of no consequence to me and I remained with my usual broadband supplier.
I told the caller with a heavy South Asian accent I was not a TalkTalk customer then he changed tack and said they do work for BT, VirginMedia and Sky.
I then asked him where he was calling from and pushed him to tell me where his office was situated. He said “Sallford Quays” SIC. I asked him what he could see out of his office as I’m familiar with the Quays and he said “everything!”
Having already smelt a rat and hearing lots of other south Asian` accents and no Mancs or Salfordians in the background I asked him again to pronounce the name of where he was situated and he said “Sallford Quays” again. He then said, he “did not like customers like me “and I reminded him I was not a TalkTalk customer. I told him he was calling from a “boiler room”, said and expletive to him and put down the phone.
I’m not hugely savvy but thought I’d share my experience as I’d hate for these ****s to make money out of some more vulnerable person.

Darren Machin says:
8 August 2019

A similar thing happened to me this morning. Received a phone call from Talk Talk informing me that they had received information that my router wasn’t working correctly. After taking control of my pc for about twenty minutes they then explained that a new router would be delivered tomorrow and that I was entitled to £299 compensation because they had not been giving me a perfect service. While they were still in control of my pc I was asked to log into my bank to confirm that I had received my compensation. Instead I logged into my account via my mobile phone. The man I was speaking to got quite agitated that I hadn’t logged in on my pc and informed me that this was the only way that I could receive my compensation. At this point I turned off my pc and contacted Talk Talk who explained it was a scam. Luckily I lost no money but I could see how someone could fall for this especially as they are offering to help fix a problem.

DerekP says:
8 August 2019

Well done Darren. Logging in via another device was a smart move on your part.

TAI says:
9 August 2019

Had a call to my land line from ‘talktalk’ tech support today: First call was a recorded voice saying internet was being switched off and to press 1 to go through to their support service. I hung up but later had an actual call saying my router was being hacked. They gave my talk talk account number and there was call centre type noise in background. I was taken in to start and followed their instructions to install a program called TeamViewer on my laptop – after a while I felt uncomfortable so said I had to go to appointment and couldn’t continue – they REALLY did not want me to hang up which set off more alarm bells. When I did hang up they called back instantly and again x2 when I didn’t pick up. I tried to contact talktalk (unfortunately it’s impossible to phone them!!) but saw a mention of a scam to do with team viewer on their website. I’ve uninstalled ‘teamviewer5’, reported the incident to Action Fraud and am hoping I stopped it in time…