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Scammers target TalkTalk customers after data breach

Friday, February 27th 2015 by Dean Reilly

TalkTalk has warned its customers to be on their guard against scammers who stole account numbers and names from company computers.

Customers were told in an email that some personal information had been stolen.

The information was being used by scammers to trick people into handing over bank details or installing software that would make their computers vulnerable to attack.

The email was sent to all TalkTalk customers, with the company reporting that the actual number of accounts affected was “small, but nonetheless significant”.

TalkTalk discovered the data theft after an unexpected rise in customer complaints about unsolicited calls between October and December 2014.

The details included customer names, home addresses, phone numbers and TalkTalk account numbers.

On the help pages of the TalkTalk site, the company said: “Rest assured that your sensitive information of date of birth, bank, or credit card details have not been accessed.”

A TalkTalk spokesperson told Cable.co.uk: “At TalkTalk we take our customers’ security very seriously and we take numerous measures to help keep our customers safe. Yet sadly in every sector, criminal organisations using phone and email scams are on the rise.

“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.”

The spokesperson continued that some limited and non-sensitive information could have been illegally accessed.

The statement continued: “We have taken serious steps to remedy this and we are continuing to work with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office).

“We want to help our customers protect themselves from scams so we are writing to all customers again to warn them about this criminal activity, with full advice, support and a reminder of the many free service TalkTalk offers to try to stop malicious scams reaching them.”

'Specialist security'

TalkTalk reported that it was working with an external specialist security company to take steps to prevent the security breach happening again.

Customers were advised to take extra care if called or emailed by someone claiming to be from TalkTalk.

The company restated that it would never instruct customers to download or install software to their computers, unless the consumer had previously contacted TalkTalk and arranged a call back. It was suggested that, if installed, such malicious software could allow remote access to individual computers.

Similarly, TalkTalk said it would never ask customers for their account number. It added that if customers received such a call, they should hang up immediately.

TalkTalk customers concerned that they may have been targeted by scammers were encouraged to call a dedicated fraud team on 0800 083 2710 or 0141 230 0707.

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