We know about”vishing” (voice phishing) phone calls but would we fall for one? We had a new variant this week.

You’ve heard this one before

Man on phone
Be sure you know who is ringing you

I expect that we are all familiar with the call that purports to come from the “Microsoft Windows Help Centre” telling us we have errors on our computer. Hopefully you haven’t fallen for this trick, all aimed at getting software installed on your PC by which they can secure banking details from you. Of course, Microsoft would never ring you, so it’s an easy one to spot and I must admit I enjoy winding up the callers by asking them to tell me which PC is causing the problem, which of course they can never do.

But you might not have heard of this one

Last week we got a phone called from TalkTalk telling us that our network “was flashing red and yellow” in their network centre. Again, it’s unlikely that TalkTalk would ever bother to ring customers to tell them this fact in such an unscientific way but we played along to see where it would go and this was the resulting conversation (probably not reported verbatim!).

Me: “Is it? We don’t seem to be having any problems.”

Caller: “Yes, you need to switch on your computer and log in so we can test what’s wrong.” [Spoken in a very heavy Indian accent.]

Me: “If there had been problems, I think I’d have noticed.”

Caller: “Not necessarily. You need to switch on your computer and log in so we can test it.”

Me: “If I had a problem, I’d ring the TalkTalk help desk.”

Caller: “Oh don’t do that, they are very busy and won’t be able to take your call. If you want to verify the call you can ring on this number [a London number]. Ask to speak to me, Fiona Bruce.”

Me: “OK” – at which point I put the phone down and did no more.

Googling the phone number which they had used and asked us to ring again confirmed it was known as a spoof number used for vishing attacks under the name of TalkTalk.

And the moral?

Don’t believe that big multinationals would ever ring you about problems on your computer or network – they want you to ring them!

By all means have fun with them, but don’t let them load anything on your computer or give out any passwords or pins!