/ 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.

Steve says:
9 August 2018

I heard the person from ‘BT’ tell me just as you had said…that something was wrong with the computer and they needed remote access. After about 10 minutes of listening to their rubbish I told them that I hadn’t got a computer. An expensive scam for them I hope as they hung up immediately.


Unfortunately the method they use to ring your phone costs them little Steve just wastes their time and as you listened for 10 minutes that would get them angry.

John Cave says:
9 August 2018

We were called and an automated message that told us our BT internet would stop today. As the phone was my son’s, and he is on Sky, I Refrained from pressing 1 or 2 to continue with BT or to terminate internet access.

Bill Youel says:
13 August 2018

Called today by automated call purporting to be from BT Technical Department, saying internet would be disconnected today and inviting me to press 1 or 2, needless to say I hung up but it must panic some folk. I have asked BT in the past how would I tell if a call from them was genuine and was told that even an engineer at an exchange could give me details of my last bill

Don Lawson says:
9 August 2018

I just got a call from a Brighton number claiming to be TalkTalk, and later BT Openreach. Friday @15:33
Stating my router had a virus, etc.etc.

They wanted me to press “Windows + R” and then click on their link that would show the virus and my license number as proof they were genuine. (Also they said BT would deliver and install a new router on Monday.) Obviously, I refused to comply and I hung up.
Windows + R would open a RUN dialogue box, and clicking their software link would install whatever they want, such as Ransom Ware?

The 3 people I spoke to sounded to me to be Asian, possibly Indian, and the low sound quality leads me to believe that this is their base. A call from Brighton?? Beware, scammers.

DerekP says:
13 August 2018

I assume the Brighton number will be a fake here, used to mask an international number.

If a scammer pretends to call from your telephone company about an alleged IT issue, that gives them a plausible pretense for already knowing your phone number. Otherwise, you might wonder how they got your number…

YouTube offers a selection of “scam baiting” videos, in which skilled hackers expose the antics of fake help centers.