In the wake of the third cyber-attack this year against the telecoms company TalkTalk - in which the personal details of possibly up to four miillion customers may have been compromised - there have already been reports of scammers targeting those whose data has been stolen.
Although this hasn't yet been confirmed, the TalkTalk data breach presents a golden opportunity for scammers, not only to acquire the data through the 'dark web', to use in all manner of scams, but also to target those affected with phishing and vishing campaigns, by pretending to be from TalkTalk.
TalkTalk have issued advice to their customers, telling them about the incident and to help prevent those affected falling victim to phishing and vishing attacks. This advice (which can viewed here) includes telling customers which information a genuine caller from TalkTalk will NOT ask for.
If you are worried that you may be one of those affected, there are several actions you can take to help protect yourself. Although your personal data, (which may include your credit/debit card details, your name and address, date of birth, email address etc) may already be in the hands of criminals, you can take steps to mitigate the impact of this and protect yourself from fraudulent transactions using your card details.
- Expect to be targeted - you may be subject to sophisticated, personalised scam attempts. Be suspicious of any calls or emails that you are not 100% certain are genuine
- Monitor your bank account(s) - fraudsters may take a tiny sum (as little as £1) at first to avoid arousing suspicion, then take larger sums in a few weeks or months time. Check your statements carefully and report anything you don't recognise to your bank
- Tell your bank - they'll monitor your account for suspicious activity
- Replace you debit/credit cards - ask your bank to cancel your cards and issue you with new ones
- Change your online passwords, and use different passwords for all your accounts
- Monitor your credit rating with the major credit reference agencies, Experian, Equifax and Call Credit for signs of identity theft
- If you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud.