/ Technology

Have you been called by a ‘BT technical support’ phone scam?

Scam written on keyboard

Has the ‘Microsoft technical support’ phone scam evolved? Is it now the ‘BT technical support’ scam? We’ve heard from people who’ve been called… and we want to see whether there are more of you out there.

Remember the Microsoft support scam? It starts with a nuisance call, but can end with your PC being compromised and a dent in your bank account.

An unsolicited caller claims to be working for Microsoft’s support team, they ask to remotely access your PC, they ‘prove’ that your computer’s infected with viruses, and they offer to fix it for a fee.

The thing is, they’re not from Microsoft and your computer may be virus free. And even if your PC was infected, you could get it in ship shape condition with free antivirus software.

Hundreds of you have told us that you’ve been subject to this scam. Microsoft’s own survey found that one in five people in the UK have been called by one of these scam callers. Of those who fell victim to the scam, the average amount lost was  £745.

The ‘BT technical support’ scam

We’ve now received reports that the scam has changed, or at least that it’s evolved to be a call from ‘BT’s support team’.

One Which? member told us he thought he was speaking to someone from BT – he was then tricked into paying the best part of £400 to remove viruses from his PC.

Our Twitter follower Brian experienced something similar. He was called by someone claiming to work for BT’s Wi-Fi team. They told him there were problems with the broadband connection in his area and that they needed remote access to his computer to fix it. This took control away from Brian, his computer shut down and now he can’t start it up.

So we want to hear from you – have you been called by someone claiming to be from BT’s support team? Did they remotely access your computer? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Advice on technical support scams

Oh, and some advice for you if you’re called by one of these scammers, whether they purport to be from BT, Microsoft or another company. A caller does not know whether your PC is infected with viruses. Do not ever let a caller remotely access your PC – this hands them the keys to your personal data. And never hand over your bank details to an unsolicited caller.

If you think you’ve been a victim, run a virus scan, alert your bank and contact Action Fraud to report the scam.

cath says:
24 May 2017

Same again – 14.40 (already called 3 times earlier, but we hung up on him, cos it sounded like a spam call), I thought he said he was called ‘Joseph Gomez’, but he could have said Watson, said he was from BT’s technical department, i asked for the number to call back, he said it was 020 3290 1029, but that the technical department closes at 3.30. I asked how he got this number, which has no connection to our internet service, which is provided by Virgin anyway. He said it was listed for my address (which he correctly gave me) as the number to contact us on. Which could be true.

He said my internet was being accessed by multiple IP addresses and I didn’t know about it and they’re sending out (actually I can’t remember what he said they were sending out – something dangerous for the internet generally) and so it might be disconnected. I asked him for the IP addresses and he gave me one and asked if I could turn on my computer. I asked him for the other IP addresses – he said it was mine he’d given, but if I turned on my computer he could show me the many others. I said i’d call tomorrow, i didn’t have time to sort it out today, he said I could be disconnected soon and I should call back immediately. I said I’d contact BT’s technical department, thanks and goodbye. end of call.

John Robinson says:
24 May 2017

Just had the same scam. Woman with an Indian accent calling from a Frome number. I am computer savvy and normally just put the phone down on these people but I was feeling bored and wanted to see just how the scam worked. After some pointless questions about my router status lights she asked me to disconnect all my devices from the router. All safe so far but then went laboriously through the stages of opening a dos cmd window (she could have just asked me to open a dos window!)
By now I could see where this was going so it was no surprise when she asked me to type in a string (“assoc” in this case) and press enter. That was the moment to tell her that she had been wasting her time, that I didn’t believe she was from BT and there was no way I was going to run anything on my pc dictated to me over the phone from a perfect stranger. Bye bye.
So it seems that the scammers realise that people have learn’t not to download stuff and are telling people to disconnect their internet (to reassure them that it’s ok) and then asking them to run the malware themselves…or at least install a program which will download it as soon you reconnect to the internet.
Cunning little b******s aren’t they?

Mel says:
24 May 2017

Hi. I’ve had an Indian man saying he’s from BT openreach today. He was insistant that a virus had affected a local network. Just noticed that you mentioned Frome, i’m near you in Melksham, makes me wonder whether they select areas geographically. He became quite rude when I refused to play ball & threatened to disconnect my Internet. I can imagine if BT were someone’s service provider and they had been having problems, they could be misled into believing they could be tech support. A nasty scam….

Sue says:
24 May 2017

I have been contacted 4 times this pm from someone saying they were fro BT openreach and everytime I used it was showing up at BT as being infected he asked me to access a box and then type in evenevwr. I refused to do this and said I thought it was a scam. He has rung back a further 2 times, number shown on 3rd call as 0219488635 needless to say it was unobtainable.

Rach says:
25 May 2017

GP surgery within several different phone lines – have been called at least 50 times in last week or so. Annoying anyway but even more annoying is the fact that whilst we are telling them to go away we are not speaking to our patients who need our help. There must be something that can be done about them in this day and age!!!!

Profile photo of duncan lucas

Rach is it an electronic telephone system with multiple lines or is it individual lines ? If the former many digital systems can be programmed to block calls like that , this is getting very serious when it affects the health of British citizens by targeting medical practices , I agree it should not be tolerated.