Scam phone calls

A few Hambledon residents have recently reported scam phone calls and suspicious emails.

Here are a few common ones and what to be wary of:

Suspicious phone calls:

1 “Your internet is about to be cut off” – you receive a call with an automated voice saying it is BT or your ISP (Internet Service Provider ) and that your connection has been compromised and they will be cutting you off.    They invite you to press a key on your phone to stop the action… which will then put a significant charge on your phone bill.

Solution: put the phone down and ignore.   UK ISPs do not act like this – it is a scam.

2 “Your computer is behaving badly and has malware or a virus” – this is known as the Indian Call Centre Scam and has been happening for 10 or so years.  A person with an Indian accent with a name like Mike or Sharon will say they are calling from Microsoft, Windows or BT and state they have evidence your computer is infected and behaving strangely (not an unusual observation).   They will then try to demonstrate how they know by directing you to a file on your Windows PC that looks strange.  So far everything they will have said is a lie but they are playing on fears that Windows PCs are vulnerable ( which they are ).   To remove this “dangerous” file they suggest one of two solutions (the scams).   

A –  They may sell you anti-malware software to download and remove the “suspicious” file for £180 or so – as the file they showed you was not malware they will have scammed you.

B – they ask you to download remote-viewing software that allows them to remotely control your PC to remove the suposedly dangerous files.  Once you have downloaded and enabled this remote software you are effectively giving them control of your PC and they can see everything on your PC.   The scam then proceeds to “we can not do the clean up yet but please do not switch off your PC” and they ring off, assuring you they will call back tomorrow.  In the meantime you will continue to use your PC and they are logging all your activity – recording the sites you visit and the passwords you type in. They will also be downloading all useful data/passwords saved on your PC.   This has serious implications for you.     In some cases they lock your PC, lock you out of your email address and prevent you from changing paswwords to protect yourself.

Solution: put the phone down on them – they don’t know anything about your PC. Do not download anything. Do not visit any sites they recommend. This scam does not work on Mac users.

3 “TalkTalk want to give you a refund” – you receive a call purporting to be from TalkTalk or BT and they know a lot about your phone or broadband account and home address.  They say they wish to refund £200 to your account and need you to confirm bank details.  They will direct you to a sham TalkTalk website with bank logos on it.  They instruct you to download the remote veiwing software which you enable with a unique password they give to you to allow the refund. You are effectively giving them control of your PC and they can see everything on your PC.   The scam then proceeds to a sham such as “we can not do the refund as banks are closed but please do not switch off your PC” and they ring off, assuring you they will call back tomorrow.   In the meantime you may then check your bank account online and they will be watching as you use your PC. They are logging all your activity – recording the sites you visit and the passwords you type in. They will also be downloading all useful data/passwords saved on your PC.   In the meantime they will be trying to empty your bank account.    

Solution: put the phone down on them. Do not download anything. Do not visit any sites they recommend.  If they do get you to follow their instructions – shut down your computer to cut the connection.

4 Fishing for personal details – A recent report from an older resident who received a phone call from a man with a foreign accent asking him/her to confirm their initials and surname.  The caller then went on to say that they had been reported by the neighbours as shouting loudly and they were phoning under the Mental Health Act.  When the caller was asked who had complained he said he was unable to tell them.   When asked what they were supposed to do, the caller said that they would be hearing from the caller again.  The caller’s number was a Kettering area code.  The Surrey Police advice is not to give any personal information over the phone.

5 – “TV licence expired email  – this is an email scam and the unsolicited email contains links to scammers websites aimed at getting you to pay the licence fee to them. Ignore and trash the email.  Their scam emails may look like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General advice to protect from phone and email scams:

There is a general solution to scam and nuisance phone calls – TalkTalk offer a call screening option to filter out unknown callers.  BT offer a similar service called Call Protect.

The general rule for unknown emails from individuals or organisations is to treat as suspicious unless you can verify independently they are legitimate. Don’t routinely click links embedded in the emails – go to the general website address that you normally use rather than follow a link.  Don’t click on attached files without knowing what they are – especially if you are not expecting these files.  Files like .Doc and .exe files are often the container for malware.

If you have to call a supplier or bank to verify the validity of a call – do so by using your own known numbers for the bank or organisation. Do not use the numbers suggested by the scammer.  If calling immediately after receiving a suspicious call then use a different line to make the call.

For general advice visit:   https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/no-more-junk/

If you are concerned about similar scams contact the Hambledon Web Team.

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Tina Jenner
Tina Jenner

I work for a bank and Natwest have a Community Banker who will visit any community groups to do a presentation on preventing scams and fraud. This includes internet fraud, inland revenue scams , banking fraud, and many other areas where people have felt vulnerable. if any local organisation or group would like more information then please contact me. its completely free and i know groups in Chiddingfold have found it useful.
Tina Jenner