Telecom changing email setup for 15% of users, citing security

From today, Telecom will be contacting a group of email customers who will be affected by a change to its Xtra email service taking place at the end of September this year, the company says.

Telecom spokeswoman Gemma Croombs says that on 30 September Telecom will be retiring its now outdated SMTP email server.  This server uses old technology, and is not able to be updated with the range of security enhancements Telecom is rolling out to ensure that the security of its email service is in line with the world’s best.

“Customers whose email travels through the SMTP server will need to manually change their outgoing mail settings before it is retired.  For most people, we expect this will be a simple setting change, and should take less than 5 minutes. After they’ve made the change, their email will still work the same – it will just go through a more up-to-date server,” Ms Croombs says.

This week Telecom will begin making direct contact with those customers who are still using the old SMTP settings, to help them through making the change. 

“Every single customer who is affected by this change will receive either an email or a phone call from us. If they don’t hear from us, then they are not affected, and they don’t need to do anything,” Ms Croombs says.

Information on how to make the change is on Telecom’s website at www.telecom.co.nz/smtp and customers can also call a dedicated Telecom team on 0800 665 885.

Ms Croombs says only a minority of Telecom’s email customers were affected by this change – less than 15% of the total email base. 

She acknowledges customers were often nervous receiving a call from someone advising them to change their email settings, and so she offered clear guidelines on how to judge whether a call or an email from someone claiming to be from Telecom was legitimate. 

“Our customer service staff will only be talking you through instructions on how to change your email settings.  They will not be asking you for your password, for your bank account or credit card details, or for any personal details.  We also won’t be asking you to click on any links, to visit any website other than telecom.co.nz, or to download any files.”

Ms Croombs emphasised that customers needed to continue to be vigilant about detecting phone and email scams.  If they are in any doubt, they should compare the instructions from the person who has called them or in an email to the instructions on the Telecom website about the setting change, at www.telecom.co.nz/smtp   

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