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Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

bigbolam
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 11-12-2012

Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

On Sunday morning I had some connection issues so logged a fault through the plusnet website whilst logged into my account.  Through the rest of Sunday I received e-mails and a couple of texts informing me that the line had been checked and there was not a fault.  Then another text informing me that some settings had been modified to improve stability.  Now despite the contradictions in the messages I assume these communications to be genuine.
On Monday the cold calls start.  First its just a couple, you answer the phone and there's no response.  Next day there was even more, to the point that were the line was stuck engaged to one of these calls for over an hour and the phone line would not disconnect.
Today it got even better.  A cold call answerered by my wife.  Hi, I'm from IT support calling about your connection issues.  My wife thought it was genuine and provided my work phone number to discuss the issue.  I missed their first call but was around for the second.
Clearly reading from a script and unable to tell me the company he was calling from, he claimed to want to help solve my connection issues.  I explained that as he was calling me at work I was not able to access my home PC whereupon he tried arranging a call back to home.  Now it happens I'm not at work the following day so I ask him to call at 13.00, whereupon he asks for my home phone number.  Bearing in mind the above and the fact that plusnet provide this line I would expect this information to already be available to a representative of my ISP and phone line provider.  I was asked three times to provide this information and refused, eventually hanging up politely.
Later in the evening at 19.00 our house was called by technical support.  Still no company name, just technical support.  Apprantly I have a computer virus that is slowing down my internet connection.  Now this is possible, but unlikely.  Also given that broadband speed was not the problem, it was dropping the connection, mainly upload I'm thinking this is definitley a scam.
Once sitting in front of my PC I am directed to teamviewer.com which is legitimate enough.  What is not legitimate is an ISP attempting remote access of a customer's PC.  Following a couple of failed connections (strange that) I simply hung up.
Message to plusnet - don't ever try to contact me by phone again because I cannot trust that you are genuine or a scam.  On the bizzare off-chance the above mentioned technical support is indeed part of your customer service it requires root and branch improvement.
There are many scams around where cold callers calim to be from microsoft or some other large company.  They need access to your PC to deal with your problem, update your security, get rid of a virus etc etc.
As I don't believe in coincidence, how is it days following my raising a broadband connectivity issue with plusnet I find myself on a scammers list having never previously sufferred from this particular approach for my information.  I do get lots of PPI cold calls despite being ex-directory.
Perhaps you could investigate this matter and let me know what is going on.  As stated above, don't try and phone, I simply won't believe you.
I would also be interested in other customer's stories of any similar experiences
17 REPLIES
MJN
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,103
Thanks: 54
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Registered: 26-08-2010

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

Hi bigbolam,
Quote from: bigbolam
As I don't believe in coincidence,

You should.
Quote
I do get lots of PPI cold calls despite being ex-directory.

Ah. So it's not that you don't believe in coincidence, but rather more pertinent that you likely don't want to believe in as despite already receiving unsolicited calls you refuse to believe that this may simply be another.
Coincidences are probably more common than you think. To exclude it from possibility in favour of a cynical, and less likely, alternative will inevitably lead you to often barking up the wrong tree. This particular instance smacks of a standard phishing attempt and hence nothing to do with Plusnet.
Not wishing to cause any offence, but you are exactly the type of person that these scammers are looking for. That is, someone that is not aware of their scattergun statistical approach and is only too quick to link a genuine event (your connection problems) with something else ('I'm calling about your connection problems sir') without a second thought because 'Its a bit of a strange coincidence that they should happen to call me about an issue Im actually having?'. Well, no, it isn't. These scammers are phoning people all day long and every so often they strike lucky. Connection problems are common and affect everyone at some stage. They just happen to have phoned you whilst you were having yours. Coincidence, that's all.
Other extremely common scams revolve around online banking activity and missed delivery courier deliveries so if you ever receive e-mails pertaining to such subjects then treat them with extreme caution, even if you happen to have recently banked online or were expecting a delivery. There is every chance that they are scams and have absolutely nothing to do with the real event. Sounding like a stuck record I know, but coincidences do happen.
Mathew
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,699
Thanks: 919
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

Why should Plusnet investigate something that is obviously nothing to do with them?
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
Zico
Grafter
Posts: 126
Registered: 11-10-2012

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

Quote from: bigbolam
Later in the evening at 19.00 our house was called by technical support.  Still no company name, just technical support.  Apprantly I have a computer virus that is slowing down my internet connection.  Now this is possible, but unlikely.  Also given that broadband speed was not the problem, it was dropping the connection, mainly upload I'm thinking this is definitley a scam.

Have you run any checks for Viruses/malware etc.?? It is very real possibility for you to have a virus/key logger/malware infection that has taken details from your PC and passed it back to the scammers/spammers who are in turn trying to scam you.
Try using an online scanner to check your PC (here are a few):
http://www.kaspersky.com/security-scan
http://www.eset.co.uk/Antivirus-Utilities/Online-Scanner
http://www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_gb/free-tools
Download and scan your PC with MalwareBytes:
http://www.malwarebytes.org/
DO NOT install Teamviewer or other software which will enable a scammer to remotely connect to your PC and mess with your PC (they can and do disable all kinds of settings which will make matters worse, even prevent your operating system from loading).
I have an on-going connection problem and I've only been contacted once or twice by PlusNet and the representatives gave their names and confirmed they were calling from PlusNet.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,894
Thanks: 3
Registered: 20-10-2012

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

It is coincidence!
You have been 'phished' by someone. It has happened to thousands of folks. They called your home, your wife gave out your works number. It is coincidental that they introduce themselves on the exact problem you are having. It's is a safe bet from their point of view though. Most people have a problem at one time or another.
Sadly, you need to put it down to experience. Learn from it and refuse to pass on details over the phone!
Arrange, if you can, a password with PN!
Teamviwer is OK if you need for what it is intended. But, don't take somebodies word for it on the end of the phone that YOU need it. If you do need it you will have arranged with another party to have it!
Geoff,
York.
Routefinder
Grafter
Posts: 382
Thanks: 1
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

If the OP has never to date had the cold calls from suspect orgainsations that have basic details of who you are then he is indeed very lucky.
FWIW I have fielded a few such calls following my other half being annoyed by them......................the level of amusement on my part leading them on the first few times died fairly quickly.  In most instances said scammers do tell you who they are and give what I would take as a ficticious name.  Also my sister in law was very worried by such calls..................and SWMBO put her straight without even asking me that the best action is to just hang up the phone!
But back to the point why would the OP even continue the call if the caller was unwilling to state who they and their name.....................................co-incidence yes, willingness to be taken in yes, PlusNet at fault no!
As stated by one of the other posters do a full scan of your PC using Malware Bytes then SuperAnti Spyware and finally your Anti Virus.  In that order ideally...................................oh you do have AV software don't youHuh
Community Veteran
Posts: 19,101
Thanks: 443
Fixes: 21
Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

Quote from: bigbolam
Today it got even better.  A cold call answerered by my wife.  Hi, I'm from IT support calling about your connection issues.  My wife thought it was genuine and provided my work phone number to discuss the issue.  I missed their first call but was around for the second.

You have been taken in by one of the many similar scams that's been around for something like a couple of years now. If you were a member of a local NHW group you may have been altered to such things. Suggest you google some NHW info and check out some of the sites listed for details of scams etc.
As already stated by others, it's coincidence, and these particular scammers can be persistent, so if you have the time and they call again you might enjoy giving them the run around pretending that you are doing what they suggest, and oh dear it's crashed, I'll have to reboot, oh and now I've got a BSOD, hang on ........  whilst they/you are wasting their time on you they aren't suckering anyone else ..... oh dear it won't do that anyway, it's a MAC.
You've been given some excellent advice by Zico and the others, make sure to do those checks and if you find any malware or viruses I suggest you change all your online passwords after your machine is clean!
bigbolam
Dabbler
Posts: 14
Registered: 11-12-2012

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

Quote from: Zico
Quote from: bigbolam
Later in the evening at 19.00 our house was called by technical support.  Still no company name, just technical support.  Apprantly I have a computer virus that is slowing down my internet connection.  Now this is possible, but unlikely.  Also given that broadband speed was not the problem, it was dropping the connection, mainly upload I'm thinking this is definitley a scam.

Have you run any checks for Viruses/malware etc.?? It is very real possibility for you to have a virus/key logger/malware infection that has taken details from your PC and passed it back to the scammers/spammers who are in turn trying to scam you.
Try using an online scanner to check your PC (here are a few):
http://www.kaspersky.com/security-scan
http://www.eset.co.uk/Antivirus-Utilities/Online-Scanner
http://www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_gb/free-tools
Download and scan your PC with MalwareBytes:
http://www.malwarebytes.org/
DO NOT install Teamviewer or other software which will enable a scammer to remotely connect to your PC and mess with your PC (they can and do disable all kinds of settings which will make matters worse, even prevent your operating system from loading).
I have an on-going connection problem and I've only been contacted once or twice by PlusNet and the representatives gave their names and confirmed they were calling from PlusNet.

I have AVG running on all the PCs and laptops in the house.  In addition, I run Malwarebytes /super antispyware / and ASC at regular intervals to keep systems clean.
To clarify.  When they rang in the evening I was interested in their approach.  As soon as I was directed to the teamviewer site their approach of attack became obvious.  The reason teamviewer remote connection would not work is I never allowed it to connect.
The particular PC in quesion has since been thoroughly cleaned, but contained nothing I didn't recognise.
I hear what all replies are saying, but does not one person find it convenient that within almost hours of reporting connection issues we find ourseleves on the end of persistent attempts of this particular scam having never ever had an IT related phone scam in the past.  Companies sell and have data stolen every day.  If I'm barking up the wrong tree, then so be it. 
I'm half expecting them to give it another go at the same time tonight.  We'll see.
198kHz
Aspiring Champion
Posts: 3,447
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Registered: 30-07-2008

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

Quote from: bigbolam
...but does not one person find it convenient that within almost hours of reporting connection issues we find ourseleves on the end of persistent attempts of this particular scam having never ever had an IT related phone scam in the past. 

There are probably hundreds of connection issues reported to ISPs every day.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of IT related phone scams every day.
What would be really spooky is if coincidences such as you experienced never happened.
Statistically, they must happen.
Remember you are unique - just like everyone else
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,380
Thanks: 4
Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

If I was a betting man (which I'm not), I'd put money on it being either pure coincidence or nothing to do with Plusnet at all.
I get quite a few support calls from elderly people who these con artists have tried to hoodwink - it's a lot more widespread than you may think.
BryanP
Grafter
Posts: 138
Registered: 21-11-2011

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

Next time it happens tell them that the call is being recorded for fraud reasons and ask them for their full name and telephone number, they will stutter and still try and carry on the conversation but then put the phone down. I doubt if they will phone you again, it works for me
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,380
Thanks: 4
Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

..... or fire up a vanilla installation of XP or Vista on a Linux box using Virtualbox, sit back and smirk while the "hacker" at the other end of the line tries to work out why you have absolutely nothing installed on your machine apart from Windows Wink
hooverman
Rising Star
Posts: 59
Thanks: 3
Fixes: 1
Registered: 21-12-2012

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

whilst in any organisation there could be a bad egg , I feel that this does not apply to plusnet with a call centre in this country and staff I can understand , I was with aol with a call centres in India  with low wages and many miles away from uk law , and as most of these scam calls seem to eminate from that continent I was worried about my information being passed on ,but not with Plusnet
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,415
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Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

@bigbolam
I'm really sorry to hear about this issue. It's very unfortunate that this happened at a time where you were actually seeking technical support from ourselves.
I'd be interested in knowing the details for the account you logged the fault from as the last fault I see logged against your account was on 2/2/13. With that knowledge I should also be able to see when we've been calling/trying to call you if we did.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Snarf
Grafter
Posts: 340
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Registered: 04-08-2007

Re: Did plusnet give my details to scammers?

I just want to resurrect this thread as today my wife got a call from "tech support" saying there were issues with our broadband connection. Fortunately my wife being slightly suspicious asked a number of questions (plus the fact that the person had a foreign accent but was apparently called "Linda White").
Unfortunately my wife did say "Are you from PlusNet?" to which she obviously answered "yes!". The call was from 0114 2360311, obviously from the Sheffield area which makes it all the more likely that it could have been from PlusNet. However the number she told my wife to return the call on was 08892586347 - quite obviously a bogus number.
So be warned, never give away any personal information, and if the person hasn't identified themselves - lead them down the wrong path and see if they bite. Couldn't immediately find anything else about this on the forums - don't know if PN want to mention it somewhere?