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SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

artemisworks
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Registered: ‎19-12-2008

SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

I have been a loyal PlusNet broadband customer since 2004, and a week ago, getting tired of all the dropped internet connections I was experiencing with 2 different ADSL+ router/modems, I switched my service to fibre to see if it would make any difference. I also decided to switch my phone provider over to PlusNet from TalkTalk at the same time, and was told that the switchover of my phone line would occur on 16 Oct.

I got my fibre a week ago and the dropped connections stopped, but the download speeds, although MUCH better, were not as fast as I'd hoped.

I received emails about the switchover to PlusNet in the morning, and within an hour I received a phone call from a man purporting to be from BT OpenConnect, saying that their engineer was responding to reports in my local area of bad broadband speeds, etc. and they were doing some line replacement work and wanted to "reset" my broadband router. I told them I was with PlusNet, not BT OpenConnect, but he said they provided the infrastructure. He went on to ask me a number of questions about my broadband connection and the problems I'd been having, and frankly, it sounded quite genuine - although the caller had an Indian accent, it wasn't unusual at all these days for call centres to be located outside the UK. There was also a lot of background noise suggesting it was a busy call centre. He told me that in order to conduct the broadband test, all devices apart from the main computer should be disconnected from the router - it struck me as a little strange, but perhaps it was too early in the morning, and since I have never got spam or marketing calls on my line ever since signing up to TPS years ago, I persuaded myself it was legitimate.

Anyway after various questions about the quality of service I was experiencing, he said that they were obliged to pay me compensation for the poor broadband service I'd been experiencing. But in order to test my broadband, he wanted me to install TeamViewer on my Mac, and I don't really know why I went along with it but I did -- and then subsequently, I also installed ConnectWise Control client software which allowed him remote access, he said it was the engineer who was conducting tests to my broadband, and they even flashed up a screen with a graph showing peaks and troughs in my so-called broadband performance. He also asked numerous questions about whether I had reported previous faults and slow service to PlusNet and I said no, never...despite occasionally really slow service and dropped connections.

The screen went black for a while as the "test" was commencing, and he told me to go away and come back in 10 mins - it was so early I hadn't had any breakfast or coffee yet, so I left the line but returned within a few minutes to find the screen still black - once or twice, my desktop returned and he was insistent that I minimised all windows. He then said that in order to claim my 255 pounds of compensation, I should type my bank name into the search bar on my browser. With this, I grew immediately suspicious and asked him why I should do that, and he insisted that it was the only way they could return the money to me. I said there was no way I was accessing any bank website, and he tried telling me that there would be a button for me to click on the website allowing me to claim the money. Now, I do NOT do any internet banking but I smelt a rat anyway and refused even when he became impatient and said it was my only chance to claim the money. Long story short, I refused and grew suspicious of his actions, and really should have unplugged my ethernet cable then but I kept on the phone a while longer and noticed an email from Paypal Digital Gifts saying I had bought a voucher. By then he was telling me that my broadband had been "fully tested" and I should hang up but keep the modem on all day because the engineer was still in the process of 'testing'. The funny thing is, he said quite a few things that should have raised red flags, but because I had been lulled into complacency by not having had nuisance or telemarketing calls for YEARS, I wanted to believe the call was genuine. Immediately after hanging up I deleted the remote client software and took my computer offline. He had made two Paypal payments to purchase 2 iTunes vouchers to the total of 75 quid. He actually called me again as I was frantically checking what other information he may have compromised - he asked me if I had switched off the computer, and then said, more hesitantly this time, that I could switch on my computer again later today, probably wanting to establish another remote connection to steal more info.

Anyway I have checked my Mac Activity Monitor and all the processes to see if he has installed anything on my computer, he hasn't - but I don't know what else to do to verify this. I called Action Fraud to report this, reported the transactions to Paypal as well as my credit card company, who are issuing me a new card. My Mac has been offline since as I want to be absolutely sure there are no hidden processes running on it before I reconnect it to the internet.

In hindsight I feel absolutely stupid to have followed through with his requests before finally getting suspicious only when he asked for me to type my bank into the search engine, probably hoping I had my bank account on auto-login or something. However it was too coincidental IMHO for this phone call to have been made on the same day my phone line was switched over to PlusNet, and only a week after my fibre internet was activated.

I have done google searches and there have been numerous reports of similar scams whose calls only came through after something had been done to their phone line, or a fault had been reported.

Sorry for writing such a long essay but I just want to make PlusNet aware of this and perhaps any other users who may have experienced the same thing.

 

10 REPLIES
Moderator
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Registered: ‎11-01-2008

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

It's not much comfort to you but this is a common type of scam and the fact that you got a call just after you switched to PN is purely coincidental.

There's no such thing as BT OpenConnect and the scammers often use automated diallers to try a sequence of numbers.

One thing you could do now you have a PN phone line is to switch on Call Protect https://www.plus.net/home-broadband/plusnet-call-protect which will help stop these callers getting through.

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artemisworks
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Registered: ‎19-12-2008

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

I appreciate a coincidence is what it looks like, but it seems statistically improbable when viewing the BT community forums. And it is difficult not to be suspicious when it occurs the same day as a switchover from TalkTalk, when I have never received these calls in the past.

But of course, nothing will ever be done!
I doubt Call Protect will do much either when they have obviously spoofed their number to be a local UK number.

Pete11
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Registered: ‎17-02-2017

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

This also happened to me. 6 months ago I left TalkTalk to go with Plusnet, and in a matter of about 3 or 4 days the calls started. The first one was to tell me that it was TalkTalk on the line and there was a problem with my broadband and as it was TalkTalk's fault, a payment of £250 compensation was to be paid to me...but.. what gave it away was the fact they wanted to pay it into my Paypal account.

They said they needed access to my computer to test the speed (in the same call) and needless to say I told them to bog-off. I still get the odd weekly call from some pratt saying it's TalkTalk after 6 or 7 months of being with Plusnet.

Just to add, the phone number used was traced to south wales.

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artemisworks
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Registered: ‎19-12-2008

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

Sadly, although I did not give them any bank details that they requested, my Paypal was on auto-login so they got in that way to gift themselves a couple of vouchers before it all ground to a halt. I contacted Paypal immediately to stop the transactions and reported them as fraudulent, but Paypal told me that as the transactions occurred from my computer, there was nothing they could do to stop the payments.

Very disappointing from Paypal as this sort of scam seems to be at epidemic levels, so Action Fraud informs me.... and it's all mostly done via Paypal.

My scam caller used a number apparently from the Watford area.

I would not put it past a leak from TalkTalk either since it seems very coincidental. The fact that I had been having broadband issues before upgrading also caused me to let my guard down although in hindsight, it seems terribly naive and foolish. My phone number is unlisted and I'm also registered with TPS.

 

Jonpe
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Registered: ‎05-09-2016

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

It wouldn't be difficult for someone at TalkTalk's call centre to target people who have just left, or for TalkTalk staff to pass on your number to a scammer for a small fee.

Apart from that, if a lot of random numbers are dialled, there is a good chance that a sizeable proportion of the people who answer will consider that they have slow broadband, or will at least welcome the idea of faster broadband.  Then there is the lure of £250.

bin
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Registered: ‎05-12-2014

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

I used to be with BT. I could guarantee that every time I called them, within 2 or 3 days I would get one of the standard scam calls.

Given the regularity with which this issue is reported there is probably a site or database within BT or OR which is leaking numbers that are being changed in some way. It's a good time to catch folks unawares as it's always a little chancy changing SPs so one might expect calls from "engineers".

I'll find out soon enough...Wink

artemisworks
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Registered: ‎19-12-2008

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

But they keep saying it is merely a coincidence.

Perhaps it would be interesting to know WHY they insist it must be coincidental. Is there NO possibility at all that the user databases from either TalkTalk or BT are being actively leaked?

 

198kHz
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Registered: ‎30-07-2008

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

Given that there are thousands of migrations each day, and thousands of scam calls, there are bound to be coincidences.

However, it would not surprise me at all if there were also leaks, hacks and other nefarious activity.

Remember you are unique - just like everyone else
LifeonMars
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Registered: ‎07-04-2016

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!

Anyway I have checked my Mac Activity Monitor and all the processes to see if he has installed anything on my computer, he hasn't - but I don't know what else to do to verify this.

 

You could run malwarebytes   on their free trial. and scan your computer.    Even after the free trial ends it reverts back to free use.

https://www.malwarebytes.com/

jab1
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Registered: ‎24-02-2012

Re: SCAM - occurred right after switching my phone to Plus.Net!


artemisworks wrote:

But they keep saying it is merely a coincidence.

Perhaps it would be interesting to know WHY they insist it must be coincidental. Is there NO possibility at all that the user databases from either TalkTalk or BT are being actively leaked?

 


If you had an account with TalkTalk within the last couple of years, your details (or some of them, anyway) would have been leaked. They had breaches last year, and, I believe, previously. I'm surprised you were not aware of them as they were all over the news and TT themselves advised their customers.

John