/ 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.

John Emson says:
10 March 2021

Caller rang from 01277 509011 .Asian lady said I had a BT router problem.
I am not with BT !!!!!!
I told her to impolitely go away.

theresa taylor says:
10 March 2021

call 4 times in a few hours-automated message saying they were to cut off BT and internet as there was risk of something suspicious (?) and I was to click 1 for more information, blocked the number
it was 01425 611333

Colin Gray says:
11 March 2021

Have received 4 calls today from automated message saying there was suspicious activity from my address and would disconnect my internet, forgot to get first tel no but the rest were 07448059044, 07446954047 and 07443252041, have blocked them all

Sarah says:
12 March 2021

We have had a live call from an Asian sounding lady saying calling from BT technical regarding suspicious activity on our connection – I told her it was a scam and illegal and I would be reporting it. We have subsequently had a lot of automated calls threatening that our service will be cut off dur to the suspicious activity – we have hung up on the occasions we have bothered to pick up the call. We have signed our landline up to the telephone preference service hoping this will reduce the volume of scam calls…

Phil says:
16 March 2021

Just had a call from a very nice lady with a wonderful Asian accent purporting to be from BT Technical Dept.
Slam went the phone !
Why do these people bother, it’s just so annoying.

Phil says:
16 March 2021

In my excitement forget to add the phone number – 01885 406 629
Hers that is, not mine.

I presume they bother because a few people will become victim of their scams. Maybe if they are having problems with their broadband or phone, they will be more willing to let someone access their computer in the hope of getting the problem resolved.

If you log in to Which? Conversation you have 30 minutes in which to make corrections or add text. It’s really annoying to spot an error after 31 minutes.

Just had an automated call claiming to be from BT saying they’d been trying to contact me regarding suspicious activity on my IP address and that they would disconnect my telephone and internet unless I…. which was when I hung up. Dialled 1471 and it was a number in Malta!

Freakily, my internet did then go down for five minutes. Presume that was just a coincidence.

The caller’s Maltese number was 00356 859 86898

john says:
22 March 2021

01202246803, claiming to be bt openreach technical department, I asked him if he was a scammer and he hung up.

News of scambaiter Kitboga and his work to develop an AI bot for fighting scammers has now reached the BBC, see:-https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/technology-56458267

phoned by 004389179717 claiming to be BT , suspicious activity on my line /internet, will be shutting it down, I am not with BT

Philip Youdan says:
3 April 2021

Had three to four automated calls in last two days to say my internet and phone will be cut off due to suspicious activities and should press one to speak with a BT executive, put phone down; number is different each time and on last call number withheld when checked. Is certainly a scam as BT account up to date and no messages

Had yet another scam call from ‘BT’. Again, about security. Their number was ‘unavailable’. The worrying thing was they knew my name, address, BT account number & mobile phone number. They sent me a couple of text messages from 64364. Definitely getting more sophisticated.

Simon says:
7 April 2021

Why not have some fun with them. They must have phoned me 10 times today. So far I’ve told them I wasnt the bill payer and I’d go and fetch them, and just left the phone off the hook for 20 minutes. The next call they told me they worked in BT Tower, to which I replied that I did as well and if they let me know which floor they were on I’d pop up and see them. The next call I told them I had two internet lines and I needed to know which one was compromised, and after a long conversation they couldn’t tell me which line it was and that I was lying and would be reported to the NSA. I’ve had so many hilarious conversations, my wife tells me I should make a book of them all. The whole family gather round the phone now when they ring as its such good entertainment. Luckily I work in IT so can see through the rubbish they’re spouting and give back as good as I get. But the longer I can keep them on the phone, the less time they have for defrauding someone more gullible.

Richard says:
9 April 2021

We’ve had a number of fake BT calls during the last couple of weeks – every since, in fact, we swapped back from BT to Sky calls and broadband. Since our number is ex-directory and TPS protected, the only way the scammers can have been given our number would seem to be by BT themselves. Maybe BT do a ‘data dump’ of all numbers which are no longer customers each month, and that’s why the calls have only started now that we have left BT? Seems implausible I know, but where else would they get our landline number from? We hardly ever use the land line and never give out the number to anyone, preferring instead to use our mobile numbers.