Cold-calling scams are still a common problem - find out how to deal with them
I keep getting phone calls from a company telling me my PC is infected with a virus. The person says their name is something English-sounding, such as Simon or Peter, but they have a strong Indian accent and then claim they are calling from Microsoft.
I am disabled and take medicines that make me drowsy and so I fell for it about a month ago. I let them take remote control of my PC and was shown some worrying software I was told were viruses. I paid £97 for them to fix the problem but they keep calling.
This is yet another person who has fallen for the pernicious cold-call scam that we have been reporting on since February 2010. Usually the callers say they are from a department of Microsoft.
There have been variations on this including scammers pretending to be from an internet service provider or claiming to be Indian government officials wanting to refund money. One reader told us that when he fell for that variant, the fraudsters tried to remove money from his account, not repay it. His bank saved him from this fraud.
The name of the ‘company’ changes regularly, as does the UK landline numbers they are using. In the early days of the scam Computeractive received a call – and arranged for them to call us back. We recorded the call and captured a video of what they tried to do with our test PC.
Mr Balcomb was especially concerned that instead of taking his card details over the phone he was asked to input these into a form and send this to the company that called him. He contacted his bank immediately, received a refund and cancelled his card.
You can also contact Action Fraud and report this crime. If you have received a phone call it will let the authorities know how prevalent this crime still is.
Action Fraud tells people to report this attempt at fraud, but more needs to be done. If you receive such a call, ask for the company name and the telephone number. Tell the caller you are not interested and hang up.
Email the information to email@example.com, putting ‘Cold Call Scam’ in the subject line. We would appreciate the name of the company, the web address of their website, the telephone number it used and also the date the person was called. We will collate the information and present it to Action Fraud. We will also contact the telecoms companies that rent the numbers to the fraudsters.
If the calls continue, report them to your telephone company as nuisance calls.
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