This particular type of SCAM continues to do the rounds.
A seemingly genuine phone offering to resolve computer problems call has resulted in many people being been duped in to parting with money - DON'T GET CAUGHT!
Some users I have dealt with have 'lost' anything from around £70 to £120+ as a result of being taken in by theses scammers. Thankfully I have been able to recover monies paid to those who were scammed in this way - and it is not always easy. Don't get caught by these rogues ...
These scammers really only have one aim - to take your money. They are quite quite persistent and use similar tactics in order to access your computer and frighten you in to handing over your hard-earned money.
A typical scenario goes like this:
- You receive a telephone call. The caller claims to be from Microsoft/Windows/Dell/BT/Other known company.
- You are told that errors/virus activity/other problems have been detected on your computer and they are calling to help.
- They ask you to click through a number of things and may even show you 'errors' or other things of alleged concern.
- They then get you to run a program allowing them to connect to your computer - they take control.
- They then show you some of the many things wrong with your computer.
- They 'clean-up' your computer and show you the errors have gone.
- You are then charged a wad of money - they usually say you can have a 'special discount'.
- The call ends.
- You have been scammed. You have lost money. You have signed up for a service contract - they will take more money in the future.
- Your computer may have new software (no yet paid for!). Your computer is no different. Your computer may now be compromised.
The things you should realise are:
Microsoft/Dell/BT etc. will not call you this way/ They only use these names to try and appear legit. Knowing what is really happening on your PC cannot really be detected by somebody else - unless of course you have already been hacked and the hacker has access.
The 'errors' that these people show you on your screen just tend to be innocent computer logs that are found within the depths of most machines and do not pose any threat. They also have been known to present to you a list of fictitious problems including viruses and other security threats - they will often run a program that appears to show these concerns. This is just a scam - it is unlikely that anything you are been shown is actually true.
By allowing them access to your computer they will probably show you a screen displaying all the threats and other issues have now been cleared - in actual fact they've done nothing more than remove their fictitious list they showed you earlier. You cannot remove something that was never there in the first place!
If they manage to get you to pay for their work you should realise that many of them have made you agree to a regular service contract - to scam you again.
Worst case scenario is they could potentially install something on your machine that could give them future access to your system and other details.
You just need to hang up immediately on these calls and do not get taken in. If in doubt check or find out from the company directly if it is a legitimate call. They often can provide phone numbers or links to websites - do not be fooled. I dealt with problem that had a telephone number and a website that looked so good it could almost have been genuine.
If you unfortunately were taken and made any kind of payment you need to take action fast. You need to get on to your bank or credit card company immediately and explain what has happened. Unfortunately Trading Standards will not be much help - when I approached them they said if a user has agreed on the phone then it is considered a contract (might as well have signed in blood) and therefore nowt they could do.
I have even come across a case whereby these scammers got a user to set-up a Pay Pal account in order to pay them. The only reason this came to light was when the customer called me to ask what a Pay Pal account was. That was scary. They will go to any lengths to take your money.
If you feel you might have been unlucky enough to fall victim to these scammers and have any concerns then get in touch.