Residents and Businesses in Carmarthenshire are being warned about a telephone IT scam doing the rounds.
Carmarthenshire Trading Standards has issued the warning as it appears offices are being targeted across the county by telephone callers claiming to be from Microsoft.
With such scams victims are cold called, usually by phone, and told that there is a problem with their computer and for a nominal fee the caller can fix it. The callers often claim to be working with Microsoft who have identified that the computer has been infected with a virus and offer an update or fix.
The victims are talked through the log-on steps in order for the fraudster to gain remote access to the computer. The victims will then often witness the mouse moving and changes being made to the display.
They then pay a fee (anything between £100 and £300 has been reported to Action Fraud) and are told the problem has been resolved. Once the initial payment has been processed it is not uncommon for additional larger payments to be debited from the victim’s account without their permission.
In addition to charging a fee to fix the computer, in some instances programs are also installed that allow the fraudsters unlimited access to the computer without the victim’s knowledge. This permits them to have access to information such as personal data as well as view online transactions so that further illegal activity may to be carried out.
County council executive board member for environmental and public protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “There are measures people can take to protect themselves. Do not allow remote access to your computer. Hang up the phone when you identify that the call is uninvited. Never divulge passwords or pin numbers. Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.
“If you believe you have already been a victim get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed and contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.”
If anyone has been affected by this scam then please email Trading Standards email@example.com or call 0345 4040506.