The scammer rings the victim and states they are from a computer or technology company such as Microsoft or Virgin Media. The caller explains that there is a problem with the victim’s computer, for example that it has a virus. They then either go on to say they can fix the problem for a fee, or they persuade the victim to grant them remote access to their computer. This is where a person can control the computer from anywhere in the world, allowing them access to personal files and data, including bank account details. It also allows them to place viruses on the machine, which they will then charge the victim to remove.
Although most of the intended victims realise it is a scam and end the call, in some instances people lost money to the scammers.
It isn’t a particular group of people targeted by the offenders: people of all ages have been contacted and it is possible a large number of people have not reported being called, so I would urge people to remember and share the following advice:
- Computer firms, like Microsoft, do not make unsolicited phone calls and do not send unsolicited emails, requesting personal or financial information or offering to fix people's computers
- All unexpected calls and email should be treated with suspicion and if you receive such contact you should hang up or delete the email. Never reveal your personal or financial details in these circumstances. Never allow anyone to remotely access your computer as they could access your personal data and files and cause damage to your machine.
- If you do need to contact the company for assistance or assurance, remember to contact them directly by using the details found on your contract or another trusted source.
Anyone who believes they may have been targeted by this scam or has information in relation to these incidents should report it to us. Alternatively you can report the scam to Action Fraud.