Category: Scam Call

The New Breed of Computer Takeover Compensation Scam

A computer takeover scam has been doing the rounds for years now, where a scammer will call, claiming to be from Microsoft or Virgin or

BT or a similarly well-known company, saying that your computer has been hit with a virus and that they can remove it for you remotely. When you let them take over your computer, they then try to take as much personal information as possible (logins, password, card payment details etc.) in order to steal your identity or steal from your accounts.  

However, according to Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK, scammers are branching out by impersonating other firms or organisations, and offering to help with a slow computer or internet connection, or even claiming your information has been hacked and you are due compensation.

The Scam

Once the victim has handed over remote control of their computer, the fraudster will tell the victim that they may be entitled to compensation, or put them through to a supervisor who will appear to make an offer of compensation.

The scammer will say that they are sending the money and ask the victim to log into their bank account to check that it has arrived.

But the fraudsters will put up a fake screen to make it appear that the money has arrived. Meanwhile they will be working away in the background to empty your bank account.

They may ask for a bank passcode to be sent by text, which they will claim is necessary in order to process the refund. In reality, they need this to set themselves up as a new payee from your bank account and take your money.

How to Protect Yourself

The FFA recommends following these steps to ensure you aren’t duped by this version of the scam:

  • be wary of any unsolicited approaches by phone offering compensation
  • do not let someone you do not know have access to your computer, especially remotely
  • do not log onto your bank account while someone else has control of your computer
  • do not share one-time passcodes or card reader codes with anyone
  • do not share your Pin or online banking password, even by tapping them into a telephone keypad.

If you are in doubt, then call the organisation back on a number you trust; if they are legitimate they will help.

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Automated Scam Calls

PPI cold callers and many others have been using automated systems for years that call and ask you questions then get you to press a button to be connected to an agent.

Automated systems are a lot cheaper than staff so for the criminals engaged in large scale scamming, this can be the most efficient way. However, recently, other criminals have started using these automated calling systems.

e.g. Automated Action Fraud Computer Support Scam Calls

The victims receives a cold call from a fraudsters claiming to be from Action Fraud.

On answering the call, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.”

When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.

The victim is told that their computers has been hacked and money stolen from their online banking accounts.  More questions lead to the scammer asking to take control of the computer and then stealing any confidential information they can and possibly installing malware or a key logger.

e.g. Automated HMRC Calls and Texts

Calls and text telling the victim that they are being investigated by HMRC and they must contact the phone number in the message for further details and to make payment.

HMRC do not make such threatening calls and texts.

e.g. Automated Talk Talk Scam Calls

Calls that warn of phone line or broadband termination. “Press 1 to be connected to an agent” etc.

Then a similar pattern of questions to above and theft of confidential information or money.

What Can You Do?

Do not trust these callers unless you can verify they are genuine. This usually means you call them back on a number you know is valid (and beware the scammer leaving the line open when you put the phone down and then pretending to be the number you called).

The scammer may have some details about you – name, address and more. But do not be taken in by this as it is likely the scammer bought this information from someone who hacked company data.

If you have any experiences with such callers, do let me know, by email.

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Telephone Preference Service Scam

Graham received a call on his landline.

The lady caller addressed Graham by name and claimed to be from the Telephone Preference Service and knew that Graham was already registered.

She told him that his registration would expire and he needed to be re-registered.

She also knew Graham’s postcode and the fact she knew these details was convincing that she was genuinely calling from the Telephone Preference Service.

But she then passed Graham over to another person for re-registration and that person had a thick accent that made understanding him very difficult and he was far less professional.

He asked Graham for his “pay number”.

Graham asked “What is a pay number?”

“The number on your cheque book or bank statement” was the answer.

Graham now knew this was a scam – no respectable organisation would ask for sort code and account details like this, plus the Telephone Preference Service is free and doesn’t need any re-registration.

Graham told them what he thought of them and put the phone down.

A wise move.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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U.S. Breaks Indian Scam Call Centre

U.S. authorities have sentenced 21 people in connection with an India-based call centre scam that cost Americans hundreds of millions of dollars.

Defendants were given sentences of up to 20 years in prison, in what U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called “the first-ever large-scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call centre scam industry.”

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the sophisticated operation revolved around call centres in Ahmedabad, India, from where individuals called American citizens while posing as officials with Internal Revenue Services or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Victims were told that they owed the government money, and were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines and deportation if they didn’t pay up. Those who gave in to the scam were made to pay using wire transfers, direct bank deposits or iTunes and other gift cards.

Once payment was received, the scammers contacted a network of runners in the U.S. who would launder the payments.

The scammers set out to defraud older Americans, legal immigrants and many others out of their life savings through lies and threats. Because of this, all resources at the Department’s disposal will be deployed to shut down these telefraud schemes, put those responsible in jail and bring a measure of justice to the victims, according to Attorney General Sessions.

The indictment also charged 32 Indian-based conspirators, who have yet to be arraigned.

The US authorities seem to be the only International player willing and able to take on the organised international fraudsters, root out these criminals and prosecute them.

Well done the U.S. Authorities and the Indian Police.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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Automated Scam Calls

PPI callers and many others have been using automated systems for years that call and ask you questions then get you to press a button to be connected to an agent.

Automated systems are a lot cheaper than staff so for the criminals engaged in large scale scamming, this can be the most efficient way.

Action Fraud Technical Support Scam Calls

Action Fraud say people are receiving cold-calls from fraudsters claiming to represent Action Fraud. When the calls are answered, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.” When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.

Victims are informed that their computers have been hacked, which has led to their online bank account being compromised and funds being withdrawn. One particular victim was told that £40,000 had fraudulently left their account.

The scammer may ask for remote access to the victim’s computer, via a remote access tool. Once the scammer has that, they may be able to access confidential information, login and passwords, credit card details etc.

HMRC

The scam sees people called randomly with an automated message warning that they are under investigation by HMRC and need to call the number given or “face serious legal consequences.”

If you call back the crooks will likely ask for your bank details and make off with your money.

HMRC does not make threatening phone calls. HMRC will call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages, however it would include your taxpayer reference number.

Talk Talk Example

“I have had an automated phone call from this number 081233472243. It was informing me that my internet connection would be cut at 1pm today, press button 1 to speak to an agent or button 2 to stay connected. I chose to hang up.

This is the first time I have had an automated call, I have had a lot of calls lately concerning my internet connection, I always hang up or sometimes they hang up when I tell them I don’t believe they’re from TalkTalk. They always ask me to turn my computer on, I always refuse.”

Good job she didn’t fall for the scam.

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