IT phone scams have been around for a number of years, but we have recently seen a surge in the number we have had reported to us.
The scam works where the caller offers ‘computer support’ but in reality is setting out to defraud.
Last year alone the Metropolitan police closed down 19 websites that were believed to be scams – teams at Indian call centres were ringing computer users claiming to be from IT support companies. The users were then told there were problems with their computers, which could be fixed.
After being told to download a program that hands over remote control of their computer so the caller can install ‘fixes’, the PC users are told of a charge of up to £200 for subscription to ‘the preventative service.’ But in the majority of cases the ‘fixed’ computers never had any problems in the first place.
The reports of people being cold called and bullied on the phone are both widespread and troubling. There will never be a situation where a company will legitimately cold call you saying they have detected errors on your computer.
If someone calls you unsolicited claiming to want to help you fix your computer, we offer the following advice:
- Be wary of unsolicited calls about security problems, even if they claim to be from a well-known company.
- Never provide credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited call.
- Do not go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.
- Make sure you have up to date virus protection and security for your PC
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of this cold calling scam should report the matter to National Fraud Authority, via its website (www.actionfraud.org.uk).