/ 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
KatieY says:
8 February 2019

Just had second call from BT technical department to say there was a problem with my router. I asked for the ip address of my router so I can check that they are looking at the correct one. Guy said ip address is London so I said thanks obviously that not an ip address, so he put the phone down on me. I don’t trust anyone who rings me by phone anymore :-).

Guest
DerekP says:
8 February 2019

Nice one Katie. I usually assume that callers want something from me – and I’m not often wrong. Some of the exceptions seem to be trying to contact a mysterious “Mr Watson”…

Guest

Most people have a dynamic rather than fixed IP address. Mine rarely changes these days and it’s committed to memory. An IP address is no great secret, so I would not trust anyone who quoted it correctly in a phone call, but if they got it wrong then that’s a good indication that they are up to no good.

Guest
Wargol the Cynic says:
8 February 2019

Just got a call from BT Technical. Initially it was a generic recorded message asking you to select an option to speak to an engineer. Call me cynical but immediately I put the phone down and called 1471. The number that came up was 01288 002430 which is a Bude number and as far as I can make out absolutely nothing to do with BT apart from the fact that the user has a telephone.

Guest

I also just got one and reported it here: https://who-called.co.uk/Number/01288767681
It is always worth reporting to inform other people and I see I forgot to say it was a scam! 🙄

Looks like Bude is the latest small area with lots of spare telephone numbers for scammers to use.

Guest
DerekP says:
8 February 2019

Wargol, these scammers usually fake their caller display numbers to make it look like they’re calling from within the UK.

In reality, the majority of these scammers seem to be based in India where they are organised crime on an industrial scale.

There was a cold caller from Bude
Who phoned and was quite rude
I said I can’t talk to you
I’ve much else to do
Such as shopping online for food.

Guest
MRS P SPINNEY says:
9 February 2019

idid get cought last year with bt scams but was lucky i refused to give bank details so they got nothing but once they have your pc they can set a viris to use later i got my computor compleatly wiped now i get calls from bt saying that i have problems they have to turn of the internet for 20 days ect NOW i advise anyone who gets a call starting hello BT enginer here just put the phone down i have had two call already today please be aware they are very clever ( mine was from america..)

Guest
DerekP says:
9 February 2019

Thanks very much for sharing your experience.

Sorry to hear that you had to have your PC wiped, but good to hear that the scammers didn’t get any money out of you.

I just found some remove access software already installed on a second hand Windows 10 PC that I acquired a few days ago. So, to be on the safe side, I’ve wiped the disc and re-installed Windows 10 from scratch.

Re-installing Windows is a chore, but luckily I already had a W10 install DVD-ROM that I could use.

I agree that, when scammers call, putting the phone down is the easiest way to prevent any harm.

Guest
Beryl says:
9 February 2019

I have within the last 2 weeks received 3 phone calls from an automated voice informing me that both my telephone and broadband connections will be terminated this weekend. I blocked the number after the second call but received another one yesterday so I assume a different number was used. The second one could not be recognised so this is obviously a scam and I have now blocked the last one.

I was half expecting a call back from someone offering to fix the problem in the hope they may extract and gain access all my personal details but as their number has now been blocked this is not possible.

Scaremongering over the phone, as with Bank scams, is a psychological tactic utilised to throw innocent people (usually the elderly) off their guard in an attempt to extract as much information as they can in order to gain access to and steal their money, but once exposed these abusers will always change tactics and devise another way in which to continue their evil deeds.

Guest
Lesley says:
11 February 2019

Just had an automated call saying our IP address had been compromised overseas and to press 1 to discuss. Hung up. Checked the number that called me, it isnt showing on any of the sites where people report nuisance calls.

Guest
Beverley Perkins says:
13 February 2019

I have just been called by 01910 703553 saying it was BT and my phone line is due to be disconnected today. I am not a BT customer. This is a scam.
Trying to log this on BT.com fraud, I could not report without accepting a cookie which will mean I get advertising from BT.
A second scam?
Shape up BT and serve your customers properly!

I have to put my name and email to post this … more advertising emails?

Guest

This is the 3rd scam call I’ve received in the sat week or so. Today’s caller spoke to me and I warned him that I knew he was a scammer and that if he didn’t hang up I would call the police. I checked my ‘received calls and the number he was calling on is:- 024 1589 4155.
How can we stop them?

Guest
DerekP says:
15 February 2019

Les, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to stop 100% of all scams.

As any cuckoo might tell you, scamming is an activity pre-ordained by nature.

That said, as regards nuisance calls, the scammers numbers can be blocked. If you’re with BT you can subscribe to their call protect facilities. Some other providers, e.g. PlusNet, also offer similar services.

But, because these scammers use fake numbers, as any given fake number is blocked, they can easily switch to a new one. (Earlier this week, I had a scam call from 01256 398451 – it had already been red flagged on the “who called me from” website. BT customers can also report such numbers to BT for blocking.)

A further line of defence can be provided by call screening phones, which effectively sentence all calls from unknown numbers to answerphone or other verification, whilst allowing the phone to ring when bona-fide calls are received.

But even with those measures, some scam calls will still get through.

Guest

Nuisance calls are definitely on the up again. I went from several a day to several a month now they are back to several a day again. The last week has been particularly bad with:
– internet address compromised in some foreign country (recording press 1 to speak to someone),
– HMRC threatening legal action (recording press 1 to speak to someone),
– washing machine insurance (companies with different names calling)
– shares scam
– missed call from green energy

Here’s a thought………. Why can’t all telephone numbers be blocked from using telephone networks unless they are being paid for? 🤔

Guest
DerekP says:
15 February 2019

alfa – blocking all invalid numbers at the exchange would be a great idea. I’m sure it’s a great response to the problem of scam calls.

Scams will appear from other sources too, but, even so, blocking phone calls at the exchange is still a great idea.

After a very brief scam call two days ago, when I asked them to phone back later, I had been looking forward to further rounds of the “cheese shop” game, before finally perhaps letting the scammers loose on a “tethered goat” virtual machine.

Guest

My understanding is that the number of nuisance calls has dropped considerably in recent years, and I have only had one nuisance call on my landline number since Christmas, though there may have been others when I was out. Five years ago I was receiving several calls most days. My number is in the phone book and websites, with the intention of helping people make contact. That might not be advisable, yet I no longer have a problem, whereas some like Alfa are still being hassled.

Guest

Until recently, I would have agreed with you wavechange, but they are definitely on the up again. The 2 recorded messages were on my mobile, the other 3 on the landline.

They never phone when you want them to Derek. After several HMRC calls, I set up my other phone to record the call, but they didn’t call while it was set up. You have to be quick as they don’t let the phone ring for long before disconnecting. I was going to send the HMRC one to Which? as it is more realistic than the examples they have on their website.

Guest
DerekP says:
16 February 2019

Hi alfa, in my case, they may have opted to “bug out” because I mention I was using a Linux computer when they asked me to go to my “Windows device”. If so, then great.

If not, then I can wait. I’ve got plenty of other projects to keep myself occupied with just now.

Guest
DerekP says:
16 February 2019

Almost right on que, I just recieved a “BT internet disconnection scam” call from

001 038 868 065 94

That’s (masquerading as) a USA number, according to who-called.co.uk

This time, I was again busy with real life, so I didn’t have time to interact with that call.

I just also heard that a non-internet using cousin of my friends nearly got caught by some non internet based refund type scam. I only have garbled details so far, but its seems the victim was tasked to go to their bank, take out cash and then spend it on Microsoft X-box vouchers. Fortunately, I believe they smelt a rat at that point and bugged out. Presumably they would have been asked to transmit the vouchers or their codes to the scammers.

Guest
Clive says:
16 February 2019

We get called around once a day from someone claiming to be from BT and saying there are various problems, none of which we take any notice off.