/ Technology

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

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.

02/09/2019: BT technical department call

We continue to receive large numbers of reports of scammers impersonating BT’s ‘technical department’ in order to gain access to victims’ PCs and/or extort money from them:

It would appear that this call is similar in nature to the Visa ‘fraud department’ scam, which has also been plaguing people across the country.

Thanks to you and your frequent comments here on Which? Conversation we’re well aware of the scam and are able to warn others. We’ll also be making BT aware of the volume of comments we’ve been receiving.

As always, if you’re worried about these calls or fear that you may well have fallen for a scam, our guide to phone scams can advise on what you need to do.

These calls can also be reported to Action Fraud online or by phone on 0300 123 2040.

Have you received this scam call? If so, let us know in the comments and help others avoid falling into its trap.

Original convo 22/11/2013

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.

One final thing you can do to help call time on scams is sign our stop nuisance calls peitition.

Comments

Like others on this thread, I enjoy wasting the scammers’ time. But I had an upsetting experience a while back, when a very nice girl purporting to be from “Microsoft Technical Support” phoned from what I believe to be a Philippines call centre (my wife is Filipina).

After engaging her in conversation for some time, I went into a well-rehersed script, along the lines of “You only get one shot at life. Why have you chosen to waste your life being a criminal, ripping off innocent people?”. She denied she was a criiminal, I told her she was… and then to my astonishment, she burst into tears, still bitterly denying my accusation.

The penny dropped. I believe that at least some these people probably genuinely believe they are working for Microsoft or whoever. Jobs are difficult to find in the Philippines and these girls are probably grateful for the ‘professional’ work and are not told the truth by their employers.

I felt dreadful for days afterwards for causing this girl to be so upset from thousands of miles away.

I’ve now softened my approach. I now ask them rather more gently if they realise they’re working for a criminal organisation. Have they ever seen any Microsoft official documentation? Etc. Generally planting seeds of doubt in their mind. If their supervisor is listening in, it’s often about this time that the call gets cut off.

Of course if it’s a man on line, then I let rip with both barrels! But do be aware that at least some of these people may not have the faintest idea they are engaged in criminal activity. Most of the real crooks are probably unidentifiable and untouchable.

Lynne says:
3 July 2020

been called by an automated message saying my internet has been compromised by illegal activity I will be called back to update my details or my provider will turn off my connection, the number who called was 0060175679379 has anyone else been contacted in this way.
I am currently trying to inform BT have been in a queue on telephone for the passed 15 minuets

Hi Lynne, welcome to Which? Conversation and thanks for sharing your experience.

These calls are a long running scam, as shown by the 100 pages of comments logged here.

If you do manage to contact BT, then they should be able to advise you on the best way to block such calls in future.

I’ve had loads of these calls. I am now abusive to these callers: very abusive.

Jack Halewood says:
10 July 2020

Received a call (international/unavailable), far east accent claiming to be from BT/Openreach investigating my internet connection. Had all my details including a very long BT Internet security number which I was asked to write down. Was then asked to switch on my computer….. I hung up immediately.

Andrea says:
11 July 2020

I have just received the automated version of the “compromised wifi due to hacking activities” message from 07871 902130. I didn’t bother to listen to the end and am very doubtful that my services will be disconnected….

Here’s one recent example of white hat hackers fighting back against some scammers:-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQPUSPXyny0

Norman J says:
24 July 2020

By coincidence only this morning I received four separate phone calls claiming to be from BT Technical Support, informing me that my broadband would be cut off in the next 48 hours. Since I am a Virgin Media customer I could not understand why BT would be calling me. In the past I was caught in a similar scam that claimed to be from Microsoft, I was naïve back then, but you don’t make the same mistake twice. This time the warning bells were ringing. I simply told them that I am very definitely not interested and terminated the call. But after the fourth call I began to wonder whether there may be a problem after all, so I contacted Virgin who were able to confirm that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my broadband connection. It makes me so angry to think of these criminals preying on vulnerable people who take them at face value. The fact that this scam has appeared in various guises over a number of years suggests that it is still very successful. It would help if the service providers who are aware of the scam, would warn their customers, it may at least reduce the numbers being caught out.

Enzo says:
3 August 2020

Two weeks running I’ve had a call purporting to be from BT (02023493155) telling me my internet was about to be cut off. On both occasions I’ve simply put the phone down on the automated call and on both occasions our wifi went off and had to be restarted. Any ideas on what’s happening? There are 3 of us working from home and we’re all reliant on wifi for our work. On both occasions one of us was dropped from Teams conference call.

I suggest you report this to your service provider, Enzo. It seems too much to be a coincidence.

Heather Downes says:
24 August 2020

I’ve received 2 calls today to my dd work phone. The first was automated claiming to be BT support and went on to say my internet was about to be terminated. I hung up but appears that they go through a menu to try and con you – the number was 07878557976. And just now I received another call from an Indian lady claiming to be from BT support’s technical team – they’re hilarious and so obviously scammers. However, I feel for people who fall for these nasty scammers. I hung up again, the number this time was 07859069421. I have a number read out on my phone so they’re using mobile numbers. Hope this helps others.

Simon Chisholm says:
9 September 2020

Just got called by these clowns. Initially an automated robotic message saying my internet had been hacked and to press 1 to be out through to a supervisor. Suspecting it was a scam immediately, I pressed 1 to see what happened. I got out through to a lady with a strong Indian accent who said she was from BT technical department and she needed to install security software on my phone. She tried to get me to install “quicksupport” which is another name for TeamViewer, which I knew would give her control of my device. I refused to install and she swore at me and hung up, so clearly not genuine. Number that called was 01931 474618

Christopher says:
28 September 2020

Had two of these calls today. On the second I did press 1 to speak to them. When he told me my account was with BT, I told him I knew of this scam. He swore at me and ended the call.

Three calls today purporting to be from BT Openreach. The spiel centered upon an alleged fault with my router and a hinted at cure for the non-existent problem. The last call came from 01159123141. Finally gave them an earful and hung up.

Indigostar says:
30 September 2020

I’ve just had a call purporting to be from Openreach: a heavily-accented Asian-sounding woman asking if my internet is slow (which it is), then passing me on to an engineer (same accent) who said Openreach was upgrading everyone to fast fibre broadband – sounds great, but he said if I didn’t do it within 2 days then I might lose internet access altogether, which doesn’t sound right! He wanted me to ‘be in front of’ one of my devices, so I fobbed him off. He did give me an ID number and a phone number to call him back, but it didn’t seem to be a real number. Of course it’s impossible to get hold of anyone at Openreach to check it out.