Consumers have been warned to be wary of scammers impersonating phone or broadband providers after a new survey discovered more than one in three UK residents have received a call from someone fraudulently claiming to be from BT.
The research, conducted by Comparitech, found 36.41 per cent of respondents have been targeted by such calls, with one victim being conned out of £34,000 after being tricked into handing over bank details.
Comparitech noted that one particularly troubling aspect of these fraudulent calls is that the scammers often know the names and phone numbers of BT phone and broadband customers, which makes the call seem more genuine.
Because of this, many targeted consumers believe their details have been leaked by BT, according to Comparitech, but this isn't necessarily the case. There are many ways scammers can obtain a person's name and phone number, and since BT is the UK's largest broadband and phone provider, there's a reasonable chance that any individual they contact could be an actual BT customer.
There are a few common scams used in cases where consumers believe they are talking to their telecoms provider. For instance, fraudsters may use a robocall to claim a consumer's internet connection will be cut off if they do not call them back - ensuring they have viable targets when they do speak to users directly - or promise to install new software on their PC that will improve their internet connection.
One increasingly familiar fraud is to claim a customer is owed a refund but BT has sent too much money to their account, with users then asked to refund the 'overpayment'.
BT is well aware of these scams and has a dedicated page on its website where consumers can report any fraudulent calls and get information on how to avoid falling victim.
It advises users that its staff will never call a customer to tell them about problems with their computer or router, or ask for any online banking details - and the same is true for any other phone and broadband suppliers, as the likes of TalkTalk, Sky Broadband and KCOM have also seen scammers impersonating their support staff over the phone.