My Mum is a Talk Talk customer for phone, TV and broadband. Last week she received a call from 'TalkTalk' apologising that they hadn't delivered the level of security they had promised in their initial contract. In order to rectify this they would need to remotely access a laptop in the house and install a security system. And because they had failed to protect her up to now they would also give her a £250 refund.
It is fair to say my Mum is not tech-savvy (though definitely improving), while very capable of online shopping and emailing she has no interest in 'maintaining security software' or downloading protection - we (read Laura) does that for her. However when 'TalkTalk' her reputable supplier calls and starts talking about security how was she to know that this was a SCAM!
After 2 hours of 'TalkTalk' accessing her laptop remotely they started asking questions such as:
'Do you do online banking'
'Do you do online shopping'
'How do you pay your bills'
It was at this point that alarm bells starting ringing for my Mum - why would TalkTalk care how she used the internet?!
Then when they raised the £250 payment and started asking Mum for bank details to transfer the money from Western Union the alarm bell rang so loud she called us. Thankfully.
Three key things that made us thing this was a scam:
1) Why would TalkTalk, a supplier, need to access a laptop?!
2) Why would they ask questions about online spending?!
3) WESTERN UNION! An untraceable money transfer service!!!!
We got Mum to hang up immediately. We checked the TalkTalk website and there under their 'Beware of Fraud' page was an explanation that TalkTalk would NEVER ask about payment details nor would they EVER ask you for account details to transfer you money.
Over the course of the evening and next day the SCAM company called my Mum numerous times, they got aggressive - demanding to know why my Mum had hung up and turned her laptop off. They got clever and used a private number - in short they harassed her. So much so that my Mum called the police. Their advice was the same as ours - DO NOT TURN ON THE LAPTOP!
We are seeing my Mum this weekend and will investigate further and uninstall anything they may have put on the laptop, but please share this as a warning to anyone you may know who might fall for this SCAM. It is awful. My poor Mum went through such a horrible ordeal and we are so glad that she thought to call us. It could have been worse but if we can stop this happening to anyone else then at least some good will have come from it.
TalkTalk explained that 'we’ve become aware that some limited information we have about some of our customers could have been accessed in violation of our security procedures'. While account details weren't accessed it has become clear that names and phone numbers have been.
This is from their website: