COMPUTER users in 1066 Country are being warned about a sophisticated scam designed to steal personal details.
East Sussex County Council’s trading standards said there had been a flurry of complaints about the con involving bogus telephone callers who ring to say the victim’s computer has been attacked by a serious virus.
The scam is believed to originate from call centres in India.
It starts with a call from someone who says they are from Microsoft.
The caller says they have had reports from the user’s internet service provider of a serious computer virus which, if not fixed, could cause their computer to completely crash.
The owner is then asked to open various programmes on their computer that appear to show critical errors.
The caller then says the only way to fix the problem is to download a special programme from a website, which will cost £185.
If the owner complies, not only will they have been scammed for this bogus ‘fix’ but the programme they have downloaded will enable every bit of personal and financial data on their computer to be handed over to a complete stranger.
Microsoft has made it clear that it has absolutely no connection with the companies offering these ‘services’ and added it does not send unsolicited email nor make unsolicited phone calls.
Councillor Carl Maynard, the authority’s lead member for economy, transport and environment, said: “Very often, the victims of these types of scams are elderly or vulnerable people in our communities who may not be as confident or familiar with IT, computer programmes and email.
“Our advice is that if you receive an unsolicited email or telephone call that purports to be from Microsoft or any other company that you are not sure about then do not give out any of your personal information. Do not click on website links or download computer programmes. The best thing to do is delete the email or hang up the phone.”