21 Sep 2011

U.K. Trading Standards organization warns against computer scammers

Trading Standards North West, a collective of 22 Trading Standards services within the northwest region of England, has warned residents in Cheshire, England to be aware of a scam phone call going around right now. Those who have given information to the scammers or who are wary should install security software or antivirus software.

People in the area have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to represent Microsoft Technical Support who are trying to scam money from unknowing victims. The caller tells the potential victim that their computer has viruses which can be repaired if the caller is given remote access to the screen.

The caller tries to obtain money from the victim, some of whom have claimed to lose close to $1,000 from the scam. The advice from Trading Standards is to immediately hang up if it is suspected that the call is a scam. The group also says to never allow strangers access to a computer or give personal information that can be used to steal money

Microsoft has said they do not use cold calling methods to sell antivirus programs or other software. Cathy Brown from Cornwall's Trading Standards Service told the Western Morning News that "These calls appear to be part of a global scam and are being made by organised criminal gangs. Victims are being left out of pocket and their computers seriously compromised."