Someone calls you out of the blue claiming to be a security expert offering to fix your computer. It’s a scam preying on internet security fears – and one of you faced a particularly nasty version that cost you £500.
We’ve written before on Convo about bogus Microsoft support scammers claiming to solve your ‘computer problems’, but this time, the caller claimed our reader’s computer was being used for criminal purposes.
Richard told us: I was recently called by a company that claimed to be working with Microsoft. The caller told me my computers were carrying a Trojan virus and being used for illegal activity.
They said that I was liable to prosecution if I was aware that my computers were being misused, and that the PCs would be closed down if they couldn’t remove the virus immediately. I reluctantly allowed the caller to remote access my computer.
They said they could remove the problem for a fee of £499.99 and that this would cover me if other problems arose with a computer in my possession in future. I transferred the funds from my bank into their account.
A month later, they called to tell me that my Windows licence had expired and again asked for remote access. I suspected a scam and told them to stop bothering me. My concern is now what data they’ve got from my PC.
Internet security scam: how to protect yourself
We say: If anyone calls and tells you they’re a computer security expert, hang up the phone.
This is a common scam preying on people’s internet security fears and no legitimate tech company does it. These scammers often try to con you into paying an extortionate amount for security software, which may not work and could in fact be malicious.
Many will also try to gain remote access to your PC, where they could potentially infect your computer with malware or retrieve sensitive personal details. If you do suffer this scam:
- Change usernames and passwords, remove any files downloaded as a result of their calls.
- Run a virus check.
- Tell the police, Action Fraud and your bank.
- Also have a look at our guide to the Microsoft scam and how to go about getting back any money you have may lost.
Thousands targeted by scammers
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau estimates that between June 2014 and November 2014 there were more 12,000 reports of cases such as this – where you’re contacted by phone and told there’s a problem with your computer that can be fixed for free.
Callers claim to be from a variety of organisations such as Microsoft, TalkTalk and BT, as well as more generic-sounding organisations such as the ‘Windows Technical Department’.
Have you been cold called by scammers and if so, what was your experience? Do you have a tactic for getting rid of them?