Councillor warns against high-tech scammers wanting access to computers
HI-TECH scammers are still targeting local people.
Trading Standards officers issued a warning earlier this year in response to reports of cold callers, claiming to be from Microsoft, attempting to take remote control of residents' home computers.
Now, five months on, the scammers continue to attempt to make money through this illegal ruse – but now they also claim to be from Virgin Media, BT and Sky.
Typically, the scammers contact a resident and tell them that there is a problem with their computer, which can be fixed. The scammer persuades the victim to install on their machine a remote access programme, which then allows the caller to take control of the machine.
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Once this has happened, the victim is asked for their bank details for a payment to be made to fix the problem.
Councillor David Bolton, the council's portfolio holder for community safety and neighbourhoods, said: "Putting a total stop to this type of scam is very difficult because the perpetrators are often overseas.
"However, if people spread the message that these types of calls are bogus and illegal, other potential victims won't be duped – they will have the confidence to put the phone down without giving away any money or sensitive personal information."
A Virgin Media spokesman said: "Virgin Media follow a strict data protection policy and would never discuss account details with customers without verifying that they are the account holder.
"If a customer is unsure about the legitimacy of a caller, we would recommend they terminate the call immediately and contact the company the caller claims to represent, in the same way they would ask for identification from anyone who came to your door.
"Virgin Media works closely with law enforcement on these issues and customers can report suspicious calls or e-mails at www.virginmedia. com/netreport"
Microsoft also provides advice on safety at www.microsoft.com/protect.
Anyone who believes they have been contacted by a bogus computer technician should contact Citizens' Advice on 08454 04 05 06.