Computer users everywhere beware - phone scamming is not going away. In fact, the techniques employed by these evil scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. So much so that even many of our customers, who are pretty savvy when it comes to scamming phone calls, have contacted me to double check that they have done the right thing by hanging up rather than giving the caller their IP address and such like.
Most of the scamming calls are to warn you that a virus, which needs to be “fixed immediately”, has been detected on your PC and that a piece of remote access software needs to be download onto your PC so that the virus can be removed. What this software actually does is give the scammer access to your computer, thus providing them with all your passwords and log-ins etc. Not only do they then access your bank accounts, they also make purchases using your credit or debit card details.
The alternative trick is to get you to pay the best part of £400 to remove the non-existent virus from your PC.
But the scammers are not stopping at phone calls. There is also an on-line scam in which fraudsters pose as legitimate internet service providers (ISPs) offering fake technical support. It works whilst you are happily browsing the internet and a warning pop-up appears on your screen. This pop up is supposedly from your actual internet provider warning that “malware has been detected” and urges you to call a number "for immediate assistance”. When you call the number, you will be charged an excessive call fee and be asked to install software that compromises your computer.
It is scarily realistic because the scammers know which internet provider you are subscribed to. But how? Basically, they place adverts which are infected with malware on perfectly legitimate websites. The user browses these websites and without even having to click on the advert, the malware in the advert redirects the user to a website in the background which checks their computer and finds their IP address. From the IP address it is easy to find out which ISP owns which IP address.
If you’re called by one of these scammers, whether they purport to be from BT, Microsoft or another company, NEVER let them remotely access your PC and NEVER hand over your bank details. It is simply not possible for a caller to know whether your PC is infected with viruses. Our best advice is just to HANG UP IMMEDIATELY.
If you think you’ve been a victim, run a virus scan, alert your bank and contact Action Fraud to report the scam.