A woman who claims she was targeted by scammers who hacked into a major telecommunications company’s computer systems has warned others to be vigilant.
Jo Skinner, from Terrington St Clement, spoke out after she was contacted by a man claiming to work for Talk Talk on Thursday.
Although she did not lose any money, Mrs Skinner said she has reported the incident to the company and the police.
And she admitted she had been frightened by the amount of data the fraudsters had been able to obtain about her.
She said: “He just told me everything about myself. He knew my address. He knew what car I was driving. He knew my date of birth. He even knew what dogs I’ve got. You think, ‘He’s got to know me.’”
Mrs Skinner said the man had claimed she was entitled to a £520 refund from the company and needed her bank details.
He had also taken control of her computer in a bid to show the call was genuine.
But she said she became suspicious when the man suggested she needed to set up an account with an international money transferring service and that she should say she did not want to send money to China.
At that point, she phoned Talk Talk, whom she said confirmed that their systems had been hacked. She also reported the incident to police.
But she added: “You feel such an idiot. It nearly went through.”
Talk Talk bosses are understood to have been aware of customers being targeted by scammers for several months, following two separate hack attacks on its computer systems in which customers’ personal details were obtained.
A company spokesman yesterday said they had contacted all their customers both to inform them of the security breach and to guide them about the kinds of conduct that fraudsters may engage in that their staff would not.
He said other companies had faced similar problems, adding: “We are working with other utility companies and banks to raise awareness.”
And Norfolk Trading Standards officials fear the problem is on the rise.
Brian Chatten, the service’s community safety and fair trading manager, said yesterday: “There’s never been a time when scammers and hackers have been trying harder.”
But he added: “No service provider, no bank or any other organisation will contact you by phone and ask for access to your computer. It just does not happen.”
He said residents should keep passwords secure, refuse any requests for remote access to their computers and ensure anti-virus and firewall programmes are up to date.