Crime

TalkTalk under fire (again) after professional scammers get in touch

By Oliver Smith 7 March 2017
Summary

Britain's budget operator just can't catch a break.

Another bout of bad news for TalkTalk, Britain’s budget telecoms operator, whose customers have been targeted by an industrial-scale scamming operation from call centres in India.

It was only two years ago that TalkTalk was hit by a huge cyber attack that led to nearly 160,000 customers accounts being hacked, for which it escaped with a fine of only £400,000.

But just when you thought things couldn’t get even worse, and weeks before CEO Dido Harding is due to step down, now another scandal is rocking the business.

TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding.

An industrial scam

A BBC investigation has revealed that “hundreds” of call centre workers in India are contacting TalkTalk customers and tricking them into installing a computer virus, giving criminals access to people’s bank accounts.

The scam is apparently linked with TalkTalk’s outsourcing of their own call centres to one of India’s largest IT services groups Wipro back in 2011.

The BBC investigation alleges that phone numbers and customer data was stolen from TalkTalk’s outsourced call centres in 2014 and passed over to scammers who have been using it ever since.

“We are aware that there are criminals targeting a number of UK and international companies, and we take our responsibility to protect our customers very seriously,” a spokesperson for TalkTalk said.

“This is why we launched our Beat The Scammers campaign, helping all our customers to keep themselves from safe from scammers no matter who they claim to be, while our network also proactively blocks over 90 million scam and nuisance calls a month.”

Making a bad problem worse

And if that wasn’t bad enough, things could be about to get even worse for TalkTalk.

Leigh Day, the law firm that has previously represented Uber drivers in the UK over their fight for worker’s rights, is representing 20 Brits who have lost a combined £100,000 to the scam.

Day is investigating whether TalkTalk is liable for these losses.

TalkTalk dodged a bullet in 2015 getting off with only a £400,000 fine for their huge cyber breach, we’ll have to wait and see if they’re that lucky again.