COMHAIRLE nan Eilean Siar are warning consumers in the Western Isles to be aware of a PC virus scam.
Scams - schemes designed to con people out of their cash – come in many forms and are getting more sophisticated all the time; and this particular ruse ironically tries to frighten consumers by exploiting their need for greater online security measures.
What typically happens is the consumer is contacted by a cold caller who claims to be working for a well known PC support company such as ‘Windows Support’ or ‘Microsoft’.
The Cyber Criminal then tells you that their PC has been sending out error messages, and asks if it has recently been working slowly. Most people will agree that their PC is working slowly.
You are then asked to go to a website and input a code which you are given over the phone. You are then informed that your computer is indeed full of viruses which can seriously harm the machine, as well as the files, such as the pictures and documents stored on it.
By inputting this code, you are allowing the caller to remotely access your computer, which allows the caller to install ‘virus software’.
What follows is you are asked for debit or credit card details as payment to purchase an Online security contract which ‘protects’ you PC. The scammers claim the contract can last from anything between one and five years.
As well as losing money for a service which doesn’t really exist, very often the bogus software which they install will require to be removed from your PC.
There may also be issues, such as compromising you bank or credit card details and any other information such as passwords stored on your computer.
If you suspect you’ve been had by a scam, don’t let embarrassment or fear prevent you from seeking advice or reporting it. Millions of people are taken in every year.
Call Consumer Direct for advice on 08454 04 05 06 or CnES Trading Standards on 01851 822694.