Virgin Media broadband and mobile phone customers across the UK are experiencing problems with their network. But that could only be the start of their troubles. That’s because a rogue Twitter account – pretending to be the official customer service account for the Internet Service Provider (ISP) – has been approaching customers who publicly complain about the outage and requesting payment details from them in order to investigate the problem.

The account, which was set up earlier this month, appears to be approaching a number of Virgin Media customers and asking them to direct message the account – which means they’re able to communicate behind closed door where, presumably, more payment details or personal information will be requested.

The scam account uses the handle @virgsmedia. It has styled its entire profile page to look almost indistinguishable from the real thing – even copying the bio, which reads: “We’re here for the box set bingers, telly ninjas, all-night gamers & biggest streamers. Need help? We’re online Mon-Fri 8am-10pm & 8am-6pm on weekends.”

In a statement about the Twitter scam, a spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Virgin Media takes the security of its customers very seriously. Like many organisations and banks, we will never contact our customers and ask for their bank details. If any customers receive suspicious messages on social media, we urge them to not share any details and report the incident to Action Fraud. We also notify all social media platforms of any fake Virgin Media accounts.”

However, there is only one account following @virgsmedia – one of a number of tell-tale sign that nothing is quite as it seems with this account.

The practice of impersonating a brand, person or company in order to get people to share sensitive data is known as phishing. It can many forms – from fraudulent emails designed to trick you into sending your account details, to fake login portals online that will store the email address and password combination entered by a user.

Virgin Media warns its customers: ”Phishing is a type of online fraud where malicious third parties may send you an email or online message designed to look as if they are from Virgin Media (or any other reputable company) in order to trick you into giving out private information like your username and password or even your bank details.”

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In order to protect its customers from falling for this type of scam, it states: “Virgin Media will never ask you for private or personal details via email.”

If you have clicked on a suspicious link sent from an account like the one detailed above, Virgin Media recommends a “full anti-virus scans on the device you visited the website on.” If you handed over your Virgin Media login credentials, you’ll need to change the password to your account as well as any other accounts that use the same email address-password combination.

Express.co.uk has approached the company with information about the Twitter scam.

We’ll update this article as soon as we hear back from the firm about their approach to this particular scam.