Still on the scam trail I’m afraid…
BEWARE THE POP-UP SCAMMER
This week I’ve been contacted by a neighbourhood watch member who has been conned by bogus computer repairers. The story goes as follows. “Just this week I got caught in a pop up scam on my computer. In a panic I contacted the number which came up and stupidly allowed access to my computer. They convinced me that hackers had got into my files and corrupted 50% of my computer.
“I made the required payment of £169.99 and they continued to work on my computer. At about 6.30 pm they left my computer saying further work was needed and that I would be contacted in the morning. That evening I told my husband what happened and he suggested it was a scam so I started to research the company and scam related sites. And realised he was right.
“I contacted the company again in the morning to inform them that I did not want the service but they refused to cancel the payment. I informed the lady that I was fully aware of what they were doing and that I had informed the bank. She tried to convince me to keep the service and again refused to stop the payment transaction.”
Unexpected pop-up windows appearing on your computer indicate an attack by ‘malware’ (malicious software). These come in many shapes and sizes. Some, as happened to the lady I’ve quoted, convince you that your computer is infected and convince you to pay for a service that isn’t necessary or that may even result in more viruses being installed on your computer. These may spy on you and even transmit personal details to the hackers. The performance of your computer may be affected.
I’m no expert on these matters so can’t sit here and tell you exactly what to do in every case, however in general I’d suggest:
- Installing good-quality antivirus software and ensuring it is kept up to date.
- Avoid visiting ‘dodgy’ websites. Search engines will often tell you if a particular site is untrustworthy.
- If your computer does become infected, don’t panic but do disconnect from the internet so hackers cannot do any more damage.
- There are loads of ‘free’ tools to remove malware out there and some may work, however beware as many are just covers for hackers to infect your computer with more viruses.
- If you can’t fix the problem yourself think about taking your machine to a reputable computer repairers. There are shops locally who are up to the job.
- Finally, DON’T call the number on the pop up! They’ll just con you.
Online fraud is growing and fast becoming the number one crime. Make sure you protect yourself and are aware of all the latest scams. If you think you’ve been the victim of an online crime you can report it to Action Fraud by dialling 0300 123 2040 or by visiting their website, where you’ll also find the latest scam news and tips on how to stay safe online.
DON’T GET CAUGHT BY THE PHISHERMEN
Another wary neighbourhood watcher has sent me this common phishing scam, though as people still seem to be getting caught out I thought it worth repeating. Emails like this will of course be sent ‘from’ all the major banks with the intention of tricking you into giving away vital information, in this case your internet banking login details (the hyperlink I’ve removed leads to a fake website).
Dear Lloyds Banking Group member,
Please take a minute to make sure that the information we hold about you is up to date. We need to check this information with you every 2 years for legal reasons so appreciate you taking the time read this.
Your security is of utmost importance to us and to enable us to recognise this as genuine request from you we will ask you to answer two simple questions that will ensure you are the true owner of the account.
For guidelines on how you can tell whether a request for information is genuinely from us, and for more information on how to protect yourself online, please visit our security centre.