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TalkTalk Warns UK Consumers to Watch Out for Scammers

Monday, June 6th, 2016 (5:20 pm) - Score 2,335

UK ISP TalkTalk, which has itself recently been the subject of several major hacks and related personal data breaches that sadly triggered quite a few fraudulent calls to subscribers, has today joined with Get Safe Online to launch their nationwide ‘Beat the Scammers‘ information campaign.

Telephone and Internet based scams are nothing new, with the Money Advice Service reporting that 8 scam calls are placed every second from fraudsters purporting to be banks, utilities companies or various other organisations. Financial Fraud Action has also claimed that fraudsters stole £755m from Britons during 2015, which is up from 26% on the year before.

Elsewhere the Office of National Statistics reported 5.1 million incidents of fraud in England and Wales last year, with over 2 million individuals experiencing financial loss. Similarly TalkTalk’s own research, which used data collected from two surveys (one of 2,000 UK adults carried out in May 2016 and the other was an ICM survey of 1,004 UK adults carried out between 1st-6th April 2016), claims that 2.5 million UK households received a scam call last month.

On top of that the ISP also found that 63% had received a suspicious email (we’re actually quite surprised that it’s only 63%, perhaps those spam filters are doing a good job) and 43% a suspicious text message, with Britons now allegedly being more likely to receive a landline call from a scammer (72%) than from their best friends (36%) or family members (64%).

Tristia Harrison, TalkTalk’s Consumer MD, said:

“We know we have a responsibility to help protect our customers and we’re determined to play our part in combating this growing problem. Traditionally the onus has been put on individuals to stay vigilant. But these increasingly sophisticated crimes are now affecting the whole country on an unprecedented scale – no one business, agency or individual can beat it on their own. We need nationwide action to take the fight to the scammers and make sure the online world is a safe place to play, work and stay connected.”

At this point TalkTalk admits that it too has been the victim of “cyber criminals” and they naturally want to raise awareness about the risks, which in some cases resulted in subscribers being contacted by fake TalkTalk support agents. As such the new campaign aims to offer both useful advice and new tools to help consumers combat such problems.

The move is important because some 42% of those surveyed said they would not be able to spot a scam, with elderly people and those less aware of such threats being perhaps the most likely to fall prey to unscrupulous fraudsters.

In keeping with that TalkTalk has created a video with fraud prevention expert James Freedman to reveal the most common tactics scammers will use, as well as an interactive Scam IQ Test that gives people the chance to test their ability to identify a scam.

Top tactics criminals use on scam calls:

1. Pretend to be from a trusted brand – mentioning a well-known company or brand in their introduction means you’re much more likely to believe the call is genuine and less likely to hang up. Scammers typically purport to be from trusted organisations, such as banks, utilities companies and even HMRC.

2. Encourage you to share personal details – by quoting some personal information, the fraudster encourages you to share more personal details that they could use to put you at risk.

3. Convince you there is a problem – scammers will tend to outline a problem that doesn’t exist. In other circumstances it may sound strange but because we are caught unaware in the moment, we believe them.

4. Create a sense of panic – they tend to describe a problem that needs immediate action, because adding a sense of urgency means you won’t have enough time to question them.

5. Make the call sound plausible – bringing another person into the conversation, playing the background noise of a busy office or just reminding you of that big brand they represent are all techniques to make the call sound credible.

In addition, TalkTalk has reminded customers that they will NEVER ask subscribers to provide their full password (they usually only ask for two digits of it), bank details, request to send money through services such as MoneyGram or Western Union and they will also not use your TalkTalk account number to prove a call is genuine.

Anyone who has fallen victim to a scam, and revealed banking information, should contact their bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, which can be reached on 0300 123 2040 or via http://www.actionfraud.police.uk .

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. sentup.custard says:

    “TalkTalk has created an interactive Scam IQ Test”

    “Do you reckon this is genuine, Harry? I’m a bit wary about anything “interactive” – d’you think I should click this Scam IQ test link or have TalkTalk been hacked again and it’s a fake?”

    “I wouldn’t risk it if I was you mate, it’s probably one of those nasties that downloads something that encrypts all your files then demands a load of dosh to unlock them”

  2. asylum_seeker says:

    HA HA HA very funny….NOT.

  3. FibreFred says:

    Talktalk giving advice on security? 🙂

  4. George says:

    I left talktalk for plusnet about 3 weeks ago ( 12 August 2016 ) and four or five weeks before leaving talktalk I had them change my landline number. The scammers (talktalk technical department)now have my new number and are ringing every day. This means one thing – talktalk has been hacked again between June and August 2016.

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