/ 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
Brian Lofkin says:
28 February 2019

I just had an automated call from BT technical department – I put the phone down immediately.
Second time this week.
Call was from America! (purportedly)
Voice was not Indian.

Peter says:
2 March 2019

Just had the 3rd automated voice call informing me that both my telephone and broadband connections will be terminated today. I blocked the number all the numbers so far calls from Dorking, London & Tobermory so this guy gets about

Evelyn says:
4 March 2019

Had numerous automated voice call (sometimes twice a day) over several months relating to IP address saying that telephone and broadband connections will be terminated later that day (called from numerous numbers too). Know it is a scam so do not answer.

TOBY says:
4 March 2019

A CALL 30 MINS AGO AT 14.50PM TODAY
RECORDED MESSAGE SAYINY IT WAS B.T TECHINICAL DEPARTMENT .. I PUT PHONE DOWN & RANG 1471. IT GAVE 01171188960 AS THE CALLER.
I CAN NOT TRACE THIS NUMBER AS BEING B.T ??

Lynnette says:
4 March 2019

Was called by “BT” this afternoon saying my phone and broadband were being terinated today -the number they called from was 01741 943600.

pamela says:
6 March 2019

I have received many calls from “BT Technical Department” including this morning – the number they used today was 001673843753, informing me that my broadband and telephone connection were about to be cut off Which I ignored of course. This time I completed and signed the Which petition campaigning for action on “nuisance” calls – I gather they are on their way to reaching their goal of 70,000.

DavidP says:
4 March 2019

I was contacted in much the same way. However I reported the matter to the TPS and my phone provider and have heard nothing since.

Geoff says:
7 March 2019

Again automated call with option saying broadband and landline to be shut down now or to repair. First number from Richmond North York’s the second from Leicester same man both times and was not in either place but India, they gave a technical department number as 02086388649. I contacted bt to check and they concur it is a scam.
Don’t fall for it, also but say they can block numbers or for £2 / month you can , but this is a toothless dog as the dirty rotten scammers use a different number each time.
If you get call don’t act on it immediately but contact bt directly on 0800800150 to discuss with them.

STAY VIGILANT.

Olive says:
7 March 2019

Was called today, 07.3.19, at 9.10 am by ‘Harry Williams’ of BT Technical Department on 01286153614. Before I had time to press 1 if that was to be my choice it went straight to him, saying my computer is comprised and he would help me to solve the problem: “is that all right?” and when I said “if you say so” he slammed the phone down”. One of many recent calls.

Please never press buttons to answer these scammers, you could get an nasty surprise on your phone bill.

Instead check and report them here to warn others: https://who-called.co.uk/
You don’t need to register to report your number.

Don’t be put off by cookies acceptance screen, you can either accept them or click on show purposes to reject them all.

Hi alfa, with regard to “Please never press buttons to answer these scammers, you could get an nasty surprise on your phone bill.” have you experienced this yourself or seen any evidence for this happening in the UK?

On previous occasions, I’ve tried but failed to find any evidence that this can happen to UK phone customers.

Hi Derek, there have been suggestions of people having been charged, but no concrete evidence.

BT charge you for pressing a button to return a call via 1471.
Do you remember Lee Beaumont who set up a premium rate number to make money from scammers? What if this premium rate number was abroad and pressing a button got you connected to it?

The technology is there to charge you for pressing buttons, how much it is used I don’t know. Unless people make a point of checking their phone bills they are unlikely to know or remember that they pressed a button a few weeks ago and got charged for it.

What I do know though, is there are less humans on the other end of scam calls and more automated calls asking you to press buttons. These calls are on the increase so there must be a reason for them.

It is something that needs more investigation by those in a position to do so. In the meantime, I think it is a good idea to warn people not to press buttons in answer to these scam calls.

DerekP says:
8 March 2019

Alfa, when convenient, I do usually connect these calls and, do far, I have not been charged.

If anything, baiting the scammers seems to be fairly effective at discouraging further calls.

Until recently, most calls that asked you to press buttons were probably more nuisance calls than scammers, i.e. green deals, or so-called government announcements.

But I have noticed a change in the just last few weeks and these calls are now mostly scammers telling you your internet is going to be cut off. The whole point of these calls is to get money out of you and reports on who-called.co.uk say nobody answered when they pressed a button in response. So is pressing buttons the new way of getting money out of you?

Diana Green says:
8 March 2019

I had a phone call this morning at 8.58 saying my IP address had been compromised and I was to press 1 to continue, I realised it was a scam and put the phone down.

Angela Fox says:
8 March 2019

8 March 2018 at 13.57 I had a phone call saying from BT Technical and that my phone was compromised and I would be compromised and terminated. Put phone down immediately.

Alison says:
9 March 2019

If you tell them that they are NOT calling from the genuine BT, they get flummoxed and start using abusive language. Two days ago I was called "a ******* ****" and today they told me to "go **** myself" because I called their bluff.

It seems that most of these calls are automatic announcements now, so there’s no point in waiting for the message to end. Just terminate the call instantly.

Pressing 9 to cancel further calls doesn’t work – it just confirms it is an active line.

Lionel Thatcher says:
11 March 2019

Four calls already today from ‘BT Technical Department’ advising me that my broadband will be terminated today, two just after 8am and the other two between 9am and 10am. No doubt there will be more as the day goes on. Further calls were received last week.
I am surprised that BT, with all their resources, do not take action since it is their company which is being misrepresented.

Clive Dolphin says:
11 March 2019

had 3 calls to day 10.15 am 12.11 pm and 13.49 pm all recorded messages telling me that my internet etc was going to be terminated.The voice on the recorded message sounded americian and all from same No: 002084023949.Have had similar calls over last month some Asian sounding persons but different telephone nos. Have reported them to BT>

Talisien Frampton says:
12 March 2019

Just had a call from BT saying internet is about to be cut off. It said to press one to be connected to BT which I did. An Indian women tried to tell me that I was having problems with my internet speed and they needed to fix it. I suspected a scam so put the phone down.

Hi Talisien, you are right this is a scam.

Would you like to keep an eye on your phone bill to see if you were charged for pressing 1 and report back here?

Gwen Hampton says:
13 March 2019

ive had 3 today all from “BT” keep blocking the number but they ring back using a different one. Its doing my head in !

Sue says:
19 March 2019

Had two call this morning from 'BT technical' person saying my BT line will be terminated today and I should press 1 to hear more details. The voice was automated. I have a Virgin line. I ended the calls without hearing any more. I did a 1471 later and number was [Number removed as per community guidelines https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/%5D – call not recognised

Simon wensel says:
19 March 2019

I’d always get advice from whorangme.co.uk first to see who rang me

DerekP says:
20 March 2019

Folks, here’s the latest Jim Browning video:

youtube.com/watch?v=a_RaQZHfYvU

It shows how tech scammers have been rigging search engines to capture business from those searching for terms like “gmail customer support toll free uk number”.

Here on my ChromeBook, Google’s SafeSearch tool seems to effectively filter out any and all malicious fake websites when I try that search.

bill says:
21 March 2019

Friday 15th march 2019. I was cold called by call centre claiming to be BT. Their phone number was 01673 453920. They said I had error messages on my computer that was slowing it down and they needed to be removed. They got me to go to ‘event log’ , then told me to download ‘teamview’ free 7 day trail. I fell for it! they kept me talking for about half hour. I was basically suspicious all the time but they still sounded plausible. the call involved one female who then passed me over to a male and to another, they all had Indian accents. It seems the woman gets you talking, then the male gets you to download ‘teamview’ and ‘google chrome’ then the second male tried the actual financial scam by asking me for my name and going onto my bank log in page. I told him a false name and typed in the URL for a false bank, at that point I was alerted and wouldn’t go any further. I ended the call abruptly, shut down all the online pages and came offline. I can’t believe I fell for it but they were very convincing. About 10 hours later I realised I should un-install the ‘teamview’ and ‘google chrome’ downloads, I then did a full ‘defender’ scan, I did a fresh start which un-installs then re-installs windows 10, this kept my files but I lost all apps, which I simply re-installed again. At no time did I give them any I D data or information and they never got to observe me through ‘teamview’ logging into my bank account page. I have checked my bank account page twice each day since and there is no suspicious activity indicated. My files are all good and there seems to be nothing wrong with my computer. My concern is that they could have transferred my files to their commuter without me knowing and might use the information they contain to maybe steal my I D such as name, address, national insurance number although there were no passwords stored on my computer. I like to think that this has not happened and that the scam was simply to get me to go onto my account page to steal my log in details or maybe to somehow get me to transfer funds to them under the belief they were going to give me a refund from B T for my computer supposedly running slow as this was part of their scam. As a safeguard, I no longer keep any sensitive information on my computer, all such files etc. are now on SD memory card which I always dis-connect from my computer after each use. Although I was not scammed financially at the time there is still the concern that someone out there may have my I D details that they can and use fraudulently at a future time. I would like to know if the 10 hours that I still had the ‘teamview’ download on my computer, if it was still actively connected to their computer for that period of time which would have given them time to install malware. before I uninstalled it, the box said to ‘click’ to connect to other user, so I assume that unless I did this that they could not remotely get in to my computer. I have since read up on this kind of scam and am now more knowledgeable. From it all I have learned the lesson not to accept cold calls that get you talking whilst on the computer and to download stuff you don’t want.

DerekP says:
23 March 2019

Bill, sorry to hear you were scammed, but good to hear that you didn’t part with any money.

Thanks also for your detailed report. The process you went through is pretty much as described by Jim Browning’s YouTube videos.

LRT says:
23 March 2019

Called from 01243443287 this morning, March 23. BT would be closing internet access etc. I don’t use BT for a start!