Local Residents Caught in Computer ‘Phishing’ Scam

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Paul Long of Llandovery based Pach Web Solutions said, “The scam works by criminals posing as computer security engineers and calling people at home to tell them they are at risk of a computer security threat,”

In a survey of 7,000 people, 15 percent across the UK, US, Ireland and Canada reported receiving a call from scammers. Of these, 22 percent had been deceived by the phishers and so lost money (source: Microsoft).

Long said, “The scammers tell their victims they are providing free security checks and add authenticity by claiming to represent legitimate companies and using telephone directories to refer to their victims by name.”

Victims of the scam are told that, to fix things, all they have to do is give the caller remote access to their computer.

Once trust has been established, the scammers attempt to make the victim think there’s something wrong with their computer. They then trick them into downloading software that gives hackers remote access to their computer.

In the Llandovery area alone this month, seven people have contacted Mr Long after being told they had a virus.  Two of these entered their credit card details on line after giving the scammers access to their computer, thereby allowing them to capture their card details.  As a result their accounts were raided and they only became aware of the theft when they were contacted by their banks.

Mr Long said, “The best way for people to protect themselves is to keep their computer’s security software up to date and to be suspicious of unsolicited calls.  If somebody telephones you out of the blue, never give them remote access to your computer and certainly don’t give them your credit card details.  If you are concerned that you have a virus, then contact a reputable company.”