TalkTalk and remote support
By Martin Edwards
Remote support is where one person helps another with their computer
by connecting to it over the Internet and sharing its screen, while the people talk on the
phone. I’m increasingly using remote support because:
- I can help sooner.
- I can help people outside my area.
- I can reduce carbon emissions.
The Internet provider TalkTalk blocks popular remote support tools on the grounds that they can
be used to defraud people. You’re probably familiar with the scam: you receive a call from
someone pretending they work for Microsoft, for example, and have found a fault with your
computer—and can use remote support to help. If you fall for it, you:
- Waste your time.
- Give a stranger unfettered access to your computer.
- Possibly pay a large sum of money.
And you feel silly afterwards because this scam has been around for years and you thought it
could never happen to you. It’s horrible, and anyone who’s been a victim has my sympathy.
But a blanket ban on remote support tools is not the answer. Throwing the baby out with the
bathwater—using a sledgehammer to crack a nut—whatever you call it, it’s an overreaction, and a
real spanner in the works for people like me doing our job. Besides, if blocking remote support
tools was a sensible way to protect people, all Internet providers would be doing it and there’d
be no such thing as remote support anymore.
Removing the block
Luckily, the block is not set in stone. TalkTalk customers can allow remote support tools in
Turning off a ‘safety’ feature might sound like a foolish move, but really, all you need to
avoid computer support scams is to:
- Ignore dubious phone calls.
- Ignore websites that say there’s a problem with your computer and give you a number to