Harpenden man issues warning over Talk Talk phone scam

Computer keyboard

Computer keyboard - Credit: Archant

A warning to others to be vigilant has been issued by a local man who was almost scammed by fraudsters claiming to be from the telecoms company, TalkTalk.

Bernard Stewart from Harpenden took a call at home from a “young-sounding English lady” who knew his name and account number and said an “error” on his computer was causing problems on their servers.

He said: “As first it all appeared very plausible. She asked me to open the ‘run’ programme and type something in, which showed that I had 7,000 errors. She knew my name, my phone number and my account number and it all seemed very believable.”

The woman then said that Mr Stewart would need to download a piece of software which would “fix” these errors, which aroused his suspicion.

He went on: “I was feeling extremely uncomfortable. She was very polite but very persistent and asked 10 times that I would need to download this tool or my computer would likely crash.”

After hanging up the phone, Mr Stewart contacted both the police and TalkTalk. The police, according to Mr Stewart, “were taking the matter very seriously and took very detailed notes on the case”.

A representative from TalkTalk confirmed that they were aware of the scam, which dates back to a security breach in December 2014 when thousands of customer details were stolen from a call centre in India.

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Customers subsequently took to Twitter to complain that they were receiving bogus calls from people who had their details; many more unfortunately fell for the scam, costing tens of thousands of pounds.

A Herts Police spokesman said: “Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls and do not send unsolicited emails, requesting personal or financial information or offering to fix people’s computers.

“All unexpected calls and emails should be treated with suspicion and if you receive such correspondence you should hang up or delete the email. Never reveal your personal or financial details in these circumstances. Never allow anyone to remotely access your computer as they could access your personal data and files and cause damage to your machine.”