Sidmouth pensioner targeted in computer scam

PUBLISHED: 18:14 13 May 2011

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FRAUDSTERS targeted a Sidmouth pensioner with a sophisticated computer scam aimed at accessing private details.

FRAUDSTERS targeted a Sidmouth pensioner with a sophisticated computer scam aimed at accessing private details.

Police have warned residents to be on their guard after criminals, falsely claiming to represent Microsoft, telephoned a 70-year-old man and wrongly claimed there were problems with his PC.

Culprits fooled the man into downloading a programme so they could access his computer remotely and remedy the fictional glitch - then asked for £70.

Police Sergeant Andy Turner warned: “By gaining access, they can place spyware in the computer which allows them to covertly steal private and personal information such as bank details.

“When they requested money from the resident he declined and hung up.

“Microsoft doesn’t ring people willy-nilly. If anybody calls offering to fix your computer, hang up immediately.”

Kate Cook, of Consumer Direct, said: “By allowing access to your PC or laptop, it is possible that spyware may be installed and your personal information compromised.

“Clearly, the scam, which originates from outside the UK, is sophisticated in set-up, but simple in its execution, sounding plausible and thereby lulling anyone caught off guard to believe that they are doing the right thing.

“The caller will probably know your name, but, often it is a hit-and-miss affair as they may be unsure whether you have a PC. Scammers are fishing and hoping to catch unsuspecting consumers on the law of averages.

“The fact consumers are still reporting these calls shows the depth and lengths the people behind this are prepared to go.”


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