Sidmouth pensioner’s warning after scammers access webcam

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A pensioner who almost fell foul of a phone scam is warning others to think before they hand over their details - after fraudsters accessed her webcam.

The Sidmouth resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said con-artists claiming to be from BT and acting on behalf of Microsoft are tricking people into handing over control of their computers.

They then make out that the machines are infected and offer anti-virus packages costing more than £100. The woman was so worried she cancelled all her bank cards.

“They say they are phoning on behalf of BT Microsoft,” she said. “They are checking computers in the area because they are running slowly, which they are – then they are in your computer.

“I wasn’t very well at the time or I wouldn’t have gone for it as I did. What was very unnerving was I had to go to the bathroom and when I came back they had Skyped me [activating my webcam] and could see me.”


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The woman was quoted prices of £120, £220 or £290 for a trio of anti-virus packages.

“They wouldn’t let me come out of my computer for ages,” said the pensioner.

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“It wasn’t a nice experience. It made me feel very vulnerable.”

When she got off the phone, the woman called BT and her suspicions that it was a scam were confirmed. The firm is sending out an engineer to fix her computer.

She spent the rest of the morning cancelling her bank cards as a precaution.

The woman has worked with computers, but said she wanted to warn others who are less familiar with the pitfalls – as she knows some people have bought one of the packages.

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