/ 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.

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

Comments
Guest
Tim Richards says:
12 January 2018

Get regular calls from these scammers – always number withheld.
4 calls since 8.30am this morning despite me being rather rude on their first call to me.
I have told them repeatedly to remove my number and that I will report them etc but this is like a red rag to a bull. Their calls are a now becoming a real nuisance but how can you stop them? I expect to get many more of these calls today. Does anyone out there have a tactic that has worked?

Guest

Scammers want a result so if they are not going to get one they pester those that might give in.

So, you don’t have a computer, just had a new boiler, double glazing, insulation,etc. Whatever they want, you haven’t got.

Or just call them scammers and liars and end the call.

Others will tell you to get a call blocker.

They do give up for a while when they know they will definitely not get what they want out of you.

Guest
Rebecca Ashton says:
12 January 2018

I was called today by someone who said they were calling from BT – from their technical department, his English was not perfect and gave the name of David Dawson. I said I needed to be sure he was from BT so he gave me his employment number D43269 and said in order to prove the call was legitimate he would give me a machine number to check, I played along and took the number down but when he asked me to go to my computer I said sorry but I cannot allow this call to go on and would not consider accessing my computer for him. I do totally understand how someone who is not computer savvy or perhaps the elderly could fall foul of this. These people must be stopped. The number they called from was 01618091467 – please be careful when answering calls from this number.

Guest
Stephanie artress says:
16 January 2018

I was called today by someone called Maria who said she was from BT technical support. She asked about my internet. I told her I had no internet and then I gave her a demonstration of my loud voice! I received no more calls. The number was 017084813318.

Guest
Barbara Wilson says:
18 January 2018

I have been receiving these calls for weeks. Tried everything to deter them but they keep trying. It’s time these companies were subjected to proper legal action. Wonder how they got my number though since we’ve only had the line for a few months and we have given the number to no-one as we only have the landline for internet purposes not for calls. We use our mobiles for calls. So basically only us and BT should have this info.
Barbara Wilson

Guest

Read my posts on how your info is easily obtained Barbara its the modern Digital Economy , it will only get worse.

Guest

These calls are, of course, examples of ongoing scam attempts. I have been called on several occasions by someone claiming to be from BT Openreach or similar, clearly originating from India or Pakistan but showing a fictitious UK phone number on my Caller ID display (I’m not sure how they can counterfeit caller IDs but they obviously can, presumably by setting up bogus telephone exchange equipment in an unregulated country. Surely BT or the telcos in general should be able to block this somehow).

Various ploys are used, but this is what happened to me again just a few minutes ago:
A women called from 01834693503, currently a non-existent phone number in the UK, asking me in a very confusing and roundabout way to run my Windows Event Log (eventvwr) and look at the message history. She then claimed that the inevitable errors and warnings you will always see there come from, and indicate a problem with, my internet router. Many non-technically-minded people will be fooled by this, so please beware. I continued with the call anyway to see what would happen next (and also waste a bit of their time).

I was then handed over to a male “senior technical advisor” who attempted get me to download remote connection software onto your computer, e.g., TeamViewer, and run it, so they can take control of your machine and install their own malware onto it. Please do not do this! At this stage I challenged that this was a scam / phishing call and they hung up.

To non-technical or elderly people, or others who might be easily confused by the jargon, these approaches can seem very plausible, so PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Do NOT download or run anything from any website that you don’t recognise as definitely safe, especially if someone just calls you out of the blue and asks you to, no matter who they claim to be! If you think the call might be genuine then check by calling the organisation (in this case BT) back yourself directly using their official help or support line number shown on your contract, bills or shown on their website (type in the official address yourself – do not click on or copy any links the caller may give you – check the contact details on Google or similar).