TalkTalk cyber attack: How to protect yourself from phone scams

Hackers don't have enough information to withdraw money directly from customers' accounts


Man using telephone, covering mouthpiece with hand, (grainy B&W)

The investigation into the cyber attack on TalkTalk's website on Wednesday 21 October 2015 has shown that on its own, the information that may have been accessed is not enough to withdraw money from customers' bank accounts and no 'My Account' passwords were stolen.

While bank account numbers and sort codes, as you would find printed on a cheque, may have been accessed, there is only a very small risk that these pieces of information on their own could be used to take money from a bank account.

Futhermore, TalkTalk do not store complete credit card details on the website and those that may have been accessed would have had a series of numbers hidden and therefore are not usable for financial transactions e.g. 012345xxxxxx 6789.

The greatest risk now is criminals committing fraud by either impersonating customers or targeting them for phone scams.

What TalkTalk is doing to help:

- Over the past year TalkTalk have been working to alert and inform customers about phone scams and have sent emails or letters to all customers.

- TalkTalk are the only provider to offer calling and privacy features that allow customers to block calls from withheld numbers, block the last number that called you and see the number for incoming calls, all for free.

- TalkTalk offer a free reporting and blocking service for nuisance and malicious calls, where customers can report suspicious calls to a dedicated expert team which is able to block the number at a network level, stopping suspected scammers from reaching all TalkTalk homes.

- TalkTalk constantly review incoming calls to identify and block malicious callers in a similar way to blocking spam emails.

- This week, TalkTalk are extending the service to block even more suspicious callers.

What customers should do:

- Set up TalkTalk's free calling and privacy features when My Account is restored. It offers caller display, the ability to block calls from witheld numbers and block the last caller from calling you again.

- Report suspicious calls from anyone you believe is pretending to be from TalkTalk on 0800 083 2710. TalkTalk's dedicated team will investigate and if calls are found to breach a strict set of criteria TalkTalk will block them from being able to call any customer on our network.

- Double check phone numbers: when calling TalkTalk or any other company, ensure you get the number from a trusted source, such as the official website or your latest bill or statement. If you get a call that feels suspicious, hang up and call back on the official number. You should always ensure the fraudster has hung up before you dial as sometimes they keep the line open to try to trick you. If you are in any doubt you should phone a friend or a trusted number first to make sure it goes through correctly.

- Tell the police: Scams are a criminal offence, so if you think you've been a victim you should contact the police. You can also contact Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, which can be reached on 0300 123 2040 or via

Find out about other scam techniques that criminals may use to get your personal information here.