Monday, 2 October 2017

Beware the Telephone/Computer Scam

You could unwittingly allow someone on your computer!
Technology can be confusing! Jeremy Smith attempts to help you navigate a current scam...
I have felt compelled to write something after my father was the victim of a telephone scam last week, and was conned out of £3500.  Last Tuesday morning at about 8.30 he was called by somebody purporting to be from BT.  They said that there had been a host of hacking attempts on computers in his area, and that it was important that he let them clean up his computer.  Although he is quite elderly, he is a reasonably competent computer user, but unfortunately, he was convinced.  They then asked him to download a program called TeamViewer, which allowed them to take remote control of his computer.  This is a perfectly legitimate piece of software, that I have used myself sometimes, to help people without having to go out to them.  However, in the hands of someone you don’t know, it allows them to do all sorts of things on your computer.
He was on the phone to them for about three hours, all the time while they were remotely controlling his computer.  They did a lot of things that he was expecting, running anti-virus scans and cleaning up the computer. He said the whole thing was extremely convincing, and the guy seemed to be able to predict exactly what would happen.
They then asked him to pay them £12 by bank transfer, and watched as he set up the payment.  Unbeknownst to him, they added two further payments of £3500 and £1500. Luckily, I spoke to him about half an hour later and said that he must contact the bank immediately.  Unfortunately, the £3500 had already gone, but the £1500 was stopped.  At the moment, we don’t know if he will get the money back.
The message I want to get across is never to let anyone take remote control of your computer, no matter how convincing they are.  They particularly target the elderly and unsure. It’s ironic that they are claiming to protect you from hacking, but are doing exactly that to you themselves.
Jeremy Smith, Computer Support for Home Users.  07837 754939 

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