It appears that too many of us have wised up to the cold calling Microsoft scam whereby you’d receive a phone call from a “Microsoft” engineer telling you that you had viruses on your computer and that they needed to run a scan. Things have moved on, and now we’re hearing more and more reports of people being caught out by cold callers telling them that there is an issue with their broadband.
How To Tell It's A Scam
The phone calls are using a variety of scripts, among which are some examples below:
“There is an issue with your broadband which means you will be disconnected in 24 hours”
“This is BT calling. There is a problem with your broadband connection and in order to fix it I need to gain access to your computer”
“Your internet connection has been compromised, please to press 1 to transfer to an operator who will secure it.”
“This is (your broadband supplier) – we’ve noticed that your internet is really slow and we need to take a look at your computer to find out why”.
Unfortunately, people are being caught out when the scammers get lucky and pick the right broadband supplier and the right problem – for example, if you do happen to be with BT and your internet does seem to be particularly slow.
If you believe the call, you will be asked to download a software program (something like Team Viewer) that then gives the scammers access to your computer – and once in they will have access to everything that you have on the machine, including your bank account details. Current information suggests that up to £80,000 had been scammed out of people by July 2018, but these are just the reported amounts. Some people are so embarrassed to have fallen for this that they don’t report it, so the true figure will never be known.
Our advice is to never allow anyone to remotely access your computer unless you know them – we ourselves offer remote computer support to our customers and this is a great way of offering immediate assistance – but it can easily be abused.
If you get a call from “BT” (or whoever your broadband provider is), tell them you will call them back - and make sure you call the right number, one on your most recent bill for example, to check with them. We are aware of customers who have done this to be informed that no, BT have not been in touch and yes, this is a scam.
No anti-virus will protect you in this instance as you are giving permission to access your computer. The only way to stop this broadband scam is to be aware of it in the first place and to let others know.
If you are unfortunate enough to be scammed the advice is to report it straight away – call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.