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Scam Alert – Computer ‘fault’ scams – 25 July 2018

We regularly receive reports from Norfolk residents who have received ‘computer fault’ scam telephone cold calls.

These callers claim to work for well-known computer software, telecoms or broadband suppliers.  The caller advises that there is a problem with the user’s computer or broadband equipment, often making claims about ‘viruses’, ‘criminals controlling your machine’ and ‘hackers accessing your router’ and that they will be ‘blocking computers from the internet’ or ‘cutting off broadband access’ if the recipient does not agree to immediate remedial work.

The caller will then then attempt to gain remote access to the computer.  This could give them the opportunity to plant malicious software onto the computer or access personal information held on the computer, including account log-in information and bank details, which can be used to commit fraud.

Victims can also end up being asked to pay for the ‘fixes’ the scammer has made to their computer.

If these people do not succeed at the first contact they are known to try calling again repeatedly.  Also where they have been successful in charging a fee the scammers have targeted people again telling them the ‘problem’ has returned.

We have been issuing warnings around ‘computer fault’ cold calls for a number of years but there seems to be little decrease in their number.  Fortunately the majority of the reports we receive are from residents who are aware of the issue and have terminated the call without giving access to their computer or making payment.

Please continue to share with others the information that well known computer companies, telecoms or broadband providers never cold call offering to fix problems with computers or requesting personal or financial details.

If you are concerned about the security of your home computer or to fix problems or issues with it we would advise you to find a quality local trader like a Norfolk Trusted Trader.  You can search the Trusted Trader Directory at www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader

If you have received a telephone cold call which you believe to be a scam you can report it to us via our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

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