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  1. Government Computing
March 28, 2019

Scammers impersonating BT to target UK landlines, says Comparitech

One in three UK landlines has been targeted by scammers impersonating representatives of broadband ISP BT, a study conducted by Comparitech has found.

Image: Scammers impersonating BT to target UK landlines, says Comparitech. Photo: Courtesy of Comparitech Limited.

In a recent survey of 4,000 UK residents, Comparitech found that 36.41% of respondents had received a call on their home phone line from someone they claimed was impersonating a representative of broadband ISP BT.

It also found that one victim was even conned out of £34,000 from the bank.

It said that tech support scams have become common these days. Even though Microsoft is the most commonly impersonated company, the UK has seen an increase in complaints filed by BT Internet customers in recent times.

The survey said that landline telephone service seems to be the largest target of impersonators.

Similarly, the frequency of people searching for the keywords ‘BT scam’ on Google also increased over the past couple years.

Referring to 349 complaints posted on forum threads on BT website, the Comparitech study said that the most worrisome factor is that the scammers are aware of the names and phone numbers of BT Internet account holders, prompting many customers to suspect that BT Internet has shared or leaked their contact details.

Most scams involve an overpayment scheme, in which scammer tells customers that they are entitled to a refund or compensation.

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The scammer intentionally transfers money into the customer’s account and then asks for the excess payment to be refunded.

After the customer refunds the money, the original transfer is cancelled, or transferred out of another of the victim’s account.

According to the study, many of the scams are initiated by robocalls claiming to be from BT. The robot claims the user’s internet service will be cut off if they do not call back.

Many of the complaints stated that scammers tried to get victims to install remote desktop software such as TeamViewer on their device.

On its part, BT even has a page on its website dedicated to raising awareness and reporting scams.

The report urged people not to trust unsolicited calls. It said that in case customers receive an unsolicited call or email from a tech support representative from any company, they should hang up and do not respond.

To ascertain whether the caller could be legitimate, they can search the Google for the official contact information of the company, it said.

The report also urged customers to not download or install anything onto their devices at the behest of an unsolicited email or phone call.

Also, it called upon customers to never divulge private information to prevent misuse of their bank accounts.

The Comparitech study said that irrespective of whether or not one’s parents and grandparents are tech savvy, they are more likely to be targeted by scams more frequently, as they are more likely to have a landline telephone, for which the number and name is publicly available by default.

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