This month we’ll look at Computer Software Service Fraud phone calls. The first reported calls associated with IT related fraud started in mid 2014, with identity fraud starting a year earlier in 2013. I bet most of you have had one, an unknown caller ringing you up to tell you that there is a problem with your computer and that they can assist you for a fee and/or if you give them access remotely to your PC.
These callers typically say they are calling from Microsoft but they may also claim to be from a broadband supplier such as BT or TalkTalk, and some even make up generic sounding names like “windows technical department”. The purpose of the call is to defraud you of funds and/or to install software on your machine that will give them access to your data and passwords, allowing them to take more money from your account without permission.
The callers can become very aggressive when you question their authenticity so hang up and if it is a genuine call they will call back. In my experience the Microsoft scammers do not (well not within the week anyway). Firstly, if it is genuine caller they will not mind you asking them questions and calling the company back, although never phone them back on a number they have given you. Call using a known number. Secondly, you should already be aware if your PC or laptop is not performing correctly.
The police advise that you end the call immediately and do not divulge passwords, bank account details or any sensitive information over the telephone. To get more information about cyber-crime or if you have been a victim and need to report it please visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call them on 0300 123 2040.
If you think that you have been a victim of a cyber scam take your PC into a local computer repair centre and have it checked for software or installed programmes that the fraudster may have installed. You should also contact your bank to make sure no payments have been taken or set up.