Due to a sharp rise in the number of calls we are getting about telephone fraud, where criminals pretend to be broadband companies in order to connect to peoples computers, we thought a reminder would be useful – and hopefully you will not be caught out.
A few years ago, TalkTalk made the news after admitting that they had been hacked and large amounts of customer private data had been accessed illegally. At that time there were a number of scammers pretending to be from TalkTalk, phoning people trying to get remote access to their computer by saying that they were infected or their emails had been hacked.
Unfortunately, the scam continues and the same scammers can pretend to be from BT, Microsoft or any other well-known and well-used company. The idea is to convince people into allowing them to access their computers to either create a problem (to pretend to fix), to syphon details to be used later in ID and bank fraud, or just to scare the customer into handing over money.
Scammers are back
We are currently seeing an increasing number of cases where scammers are using the BT excuse. They call out of the blue, say something like your broadband router has a problem or that your computer has a virus or other issue. In many cases they are so believable that they may accidentally mention something that may actually be true, for example that you have had issues with your email.
Once they have connected to your computer, unknown to you they actually cause the damage that they are pretending to help you with, and/or put something on your computer that seems to support what they are saying.
Big companies like BT and Talk Talk have hundreds of thousands of customers, so the criminals doing this scam can pretty much guarantee that they will get an actual customer if they ring enough people.
How to identify its a fraudulent call
Remember that legitimate companies would never call you to ask for passwords or any other personal information. They will not contact you out of the blue to ask to remotely access your computer for any reason.
If you have an actual broadband problem for example, no broadband company will call you first – its up to you to report it.
Similarly, no-one can tell if you have a computer virus, so if someone calls saying that, you know that they are fake.
What to do if they call
If you do get a call from someone saying that they are from BT, TalkTalk or any other company, no matter how believable they are, do not let them access your computer under any circumstances.
They can do this in a number of ways, for example getting you to download something or getting you to go to a specific website, where they can initiate a download without you knowing.
Go to the genuine company website, get contact details and call them, to make sure that the person you are talking to is genuine. Never click on a link or go to an address that they give you – always use the genuine website address yourself.
Also, remember that remote connections can be used legitimately too and you should not be put off using it – just be especially careful who you allow to connect remotely to your computer.
One of the worst things we see is that having been conned, many people cannot believe that they have fallen for it. If you have been conned by these people, do not be too hard on yourself about it. They have had plenty of practice and can be extremely believable, with people from all backgrounds falling for the scam.
If you think that you may have already been scammed or want help, give us a call on 01455 209505.