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The ordeal suffered by Robert and Susan Turner is a terrible portent for TalkTalk customers whose data was stolen in last week’s cyber attack.
For a year, the Turners lived a nightmare. Every evening their phones would start ringing at 25-minute intervals.
On the other end of a crackly line, they heard a voice that seemed to be coming from thousands of miles away, often claiming to be from telecoms firm TalkTalk.
‘You’ve got a problem with your broadband,’ the caller would often say.
On other evenings, the caller would try to get them to buy something, or sign up for a new contract — anything to get them to hand over their credit card details.
Mercifully, the Turners were never duped into falling for these scams. But the disruption to their lives became almost unbearable.
They tried everything — from changing their number to signing up to call-barring services — but nothing made the calls stop.
They say they begged TalkTalk for help tackling the cold-callers, but each time they were fobbed off. The Turners have not lost any money, but that is only through their own diligence.
The couple continued to answer the phone because they did not want to miss calls from Robert’s elderly father.
Susan, 46, from Boston, Lincolnshire, says: ‘It caused me a huge amount of worry and at times it was quite scary. The calls would continue late into the evening and sometimes they would be quite aggressive.’
Robert and Susan were TalkTalk customers until May, so they aren’t victims of the latest fraud. However, they believe they had their personal details stolen on one of two previous occasions the firm was hacked by cyber criminals.
The calls started after they called TalkTalk to report a problem with their internet.