Computer service fraud

£2,000: average amount of money lost by each victim

33,000: number of reports made to Action Fraud between May 2015 and April 2016

£9.5m total amount reported lost by victimes between May 2015 and April 2016

Computer service fraud, also known as the Microsoft Tech Scam, relates to predominantly Indian call centres cold calling victims claiming to be from legitimate businesses, such as Microsoft or your internet service provider (ISP).

The caller states that there is an issue with the victim’s computer, which they say they will fix for a fee.

Whilst typical losses are around £200, there have been instances of some victims being subjected to repeat victimisation leading to large losses, in one instance more than £70,000.

This may include the compromise of online banking details, installation of malware including computer viruses, and obtaining personal identifiable information.

The National Fraud Investigation Bureau is undertaking enquiries around a number of alleged companies who are exploiting victims using this method.

One of these companies, claiming to be called Ask PC Experts, regularly changes its phone numbers and business name.

Detective Inspector Claire Stalley, from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said:

“You will never be contacted by phone by Microsoft or your internet provider stating your computer has been compromised and for a fee it can be fixed.

“Never pass your bank details to anyone who cold calls or let someone have control of your computer remotely – it will be a scam.”

Fraud and potential scams can be reported to Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, on the Action fraud website or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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