/ 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?


Make the companies pay… Perhaps?
Any company whose data is compromised or stolen should, by law, be required to contribute to a “publicity fund”, the functions of which are to publish advertisements across all media (newspapers, TV, Radio and Internet) detailing the current scams, how these scams operate and how consumers can identify them based on what callers ask them to do… etc.
Adverts are run every day across the broadest spectrum of media possible, in formats which are highly visible and consistent. The public will soon see this as a “brand” and will notice such adverts.
As mentioned, the cost of these ads must be borne by companies whose data has either been stolen, or as a levy (say 50%) of the fee such companies charge 3rd parties to purchase “use” of that data.
Failure to comply is a criminal offence, carrying high fines and possible prison sentences for company directors.


I think that would be over the top and a waste of customers’ money. The only money companies have is what they get from consumers of their goods and services. I, and vary many other people, do not ‘see’ advertisements and as soon as such high-profile standardised advertisements became commonplace they would be comprehensively ignored.


I wonder? Just about the only way to make companies do anything is to punish then through their finances. Yes – it might hurt the customer indirectly but the theory of a capitalistic society suggests that the company would have to absorb the losses or surrender to its competitors, who might attempt to fill the market gap. Whilst I agree about the advertising aspect, the real value would be in extracting money from the company. And some advertising does work, apparently.

But I suspect the only long-term solution has to be to impact individuals. It’s notoriously difficult to bring individuals within companies to book over negligence, even if that negligence costs lives. Normally, boards seek to distant themselves, as do senior managers, from suggestions of incompetence or deceit, and leave relatively lowly individuals holding the can. I believe that’s wrong, as it’s down to senior management and the directors to supervise and accept responsibility when things go seriously awry.


I had exactly the same phone scam, which nearly cleared out my bank account.plus they are so convincing when scamming, luckily I sussed it out at the end and called my bank immediately who stopped the transaction and changed my bank account details.I blame the fact that we have to go through to foreign call centres instead of being able to get in touch directly with ones own bank branch.These scammers are so clever and convincing so after my experience I am ultra careful now,
I am 74 years old and still learning, so to anyone out there, be ultra careful!!!!If anyone phones who you are suspicious about, then just put the phone down and say you will call back on the number they are professing to be.AT THE END OF THE DAY,I never had any trouble before going to online banking, but sadly this is a problem of the day we live in now, just hate call centres.with the press button 1,2,3 etc Hope you can all keep safe in this crap world of modern technolgy, good luck.


sorry to hear this, it can happen to anybody at all, I’m 39 and have been using a P.C for nearly half of my life..and was stung today, they are so goddamn professional sounding, along with the fact that they know all the details of your account, the I.S.Ps NEED to be held accountable, at the end of the day, it’s not the end user/ customers fault that the provider was hacked.. Talk Talk in particular were told about their anti Piracy inadequacies on at least 3 occasions..


I have also been involved in the Talk Talk scam, receiving calls from people who always say they are from “Talktalk technical department and that they have identified a problem on my computer”. I almost lost 800 pounds on this scam, partly due to my own stupidity, but at the time I was at a very low point in my life with my wife seriously ill in hospital and I am in my seventies so not as sharp as I was. My bank actually phoned me to ask if I had authorized the payment, so I was lucky. However I am still getting the calls from Talk Talk ” technical dept.” almost daily. I have decided finally to leave TalkTalk and would you believe they are expecting me to pay up the contract, over 200 pounds, which I have refused to do and I told them they will have to take me to court. If they do I have a counter claim for repairs to my computer which I have been unable to use since this happened


so sorry to hear this… they should NOT be able to charge an early leaving fee down to their negligence..

Cheshire Dave says:
25 September 2016

I had tremendous aggro from Talk Talk when I cancelled phone/broadband.

EE, the new provider, assured me that THEY would ‘take care of all the details’ and they can track this back, give me dates and times, and see that they did. (Or so they say. To be honest, EE were very GOOD.)

I made many, many calls to TalkTalk to try to sort things out.

However, TalkTalk kept taking money from my bank account for 3 or 4 months, despite my calls to them. So I asked my bank to stop letting them take money. In the end, I had the usual threatening letters (many) and was in email contact with soem ‘secretary to the director’ or something like that.

This went nowhere fast. I went through all the ‘processes’, then to the ombudsman. But TalkTalk would not give me what I think is a ‘deadlock letter’ for the ombudsman.

I then went onto a debtors list, the list was sold on, and I was contacted by debt collectors.

After advice from Which Legal, I told the debt company that I was at ‘dealock stage’ and they immediately backed off and I didn’t hear from them again.

The whole mess-up took well over 6 months to sort out. Although it never WAS actually sorted out.

I reckon TalkTalk owe me 85 pounds. They reckon I owe them a similar, but smaller, amount. I never got anything back and I never managed to get as far as the ombudsman because they wouldn’t give me a deadlock letter.

Think I’m finished? Read on…

I’ve been on an (incredible, I know) 1-pound-a-month rolling mobile phone contract with TalkMobile for a few years. Ued for an ’emergency’ phone, I struggled to use up the text and calltime allowance, so usually just paid one pound each month from my bank account. All fine.

After 3 or 4 years, they have ‘retired’ this contract and tried to move me to another tariff of 5 pounds per month. This had added ‘data’ facility – however, my basic phone doesn’t ‘do’ data!

I received a text message warning me about this but saying I was free to cancel before a certain date. When I phoned to cancel, the call centre guy said that free cancellation was only if i cancelled by email – not mentioned on the text message. He said because I was cancelling by phone, I had to give 20 days’ notice.

Within this 20-day notice period, the new 5-pound monthly charge would be in place, so this was effectively costing me 5 pou