The Police are urging people to be wary of software scams after the Force has received 47 reports from vulnerable victims so far this year with losses totalling £188,000. The average loss has been around £4,266
The scam typically involves a victim receiving a phone call from someone purporting to be from a well-known company advising that their computer or device needs updating. Victims may then give control of their devices to the offender or are advised to follow instructions, which often ends up compromising their personal information, such as bank details.
Recently, an elderly woman from Surrey was called by a man who claimed he was from BT and needed to turn her internet off for 24 hours. He then directed the victim to visit a website on her computer. Once the victim had done this, he advised her that they would be transferring compensation to her bank account. The victim provided their bank details and was tricked into transferring £2,650 from their account.
A similar incident occurred in June when an elderly woman was tricked into giving the offenders access to her bank account. A woman called the victim pretending to be from BT and advised her that she had issues with her internet connection. The victim was told to download an app and to provide her bank details, resulting in £800 being stolen from her bank account.
PC Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Safeguarding Abuse Officer at Sussex and Surrey Police, said: “Please be wary if you receive an unsolicited call about the security of your computer. There are fraudsters out there who will try to capitalise on your concern to financially profit.
“We’re urging people to be careful – make sure you know who you’re talking to. Remember – Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer. Fraudsters make these phone calls to try to steal from you and damage your computer with malware. Treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism and don’t give out any personal information. If you feel pressured, hang up and talk it through with a friend or family member”
If you receive an unsolicited call:
- don’t allow remote access to your computer
- don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision – a genuine bank or another trusted organisation won’t force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons
- remember to stop and take time to carefully consider your actions
- don’t make a payment
- make sure you know who you are talking to – if in doubt, hang up immediately
- listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it
- remember that criminals may lull you into a false sense of security when you are out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home – they may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.