Nearly a million people fell prey to scammers over the summer according to OfCom research. 45 million people were targetted by emails, phone calls or texts between June and September.
So we still need to be on our guard. One new service is the 159 number. Calling this from a different phone will get you through to the customer services department of your bank (nearly all major ones are signed up). So if you get a call from your bank, the police, HMRC or any financial matter call 159 to check it out.
We all get calls and emails from ‘Microsoft’, ‘Google’, ‘BT’ and others claiming that our computer has a virus. Yeah, right.
Some even go to the extent that they lock your computer. If a window says ‘This computer has been locked. To unlock computer you must enter the correct password.’ then they are using Lock My PC by FSPro Labs. Its is properly used to help users to lock various functions of their computer if they have particular needs.
However, the bad guys have learnt about it and are using it. FSLabs Pro, being good guys, have created an ‘antidote’. Where the window asks for a password, enter 999901111 but do not press enter or click anything. You will see a recovery code underneath into the recovery page on the internet. This will give you a password that you put into the window on your computer to unlock it.
written several times about scammers, but
they are still there and getting better – and catching people from
all and every walk of life.
be clear: Microsoft, your internet provider or anyone else does not
know the status of your computer. Frankly, I doubt if they care about
your computer. I don’t see why they should and anyway, if they did
then they would fix it for free and not ask for money like the
number one works by ringing lots of people and eventually they will
chance on someone who thinks they have a problem. So the scammer gets
they will ask you to run something like Team Viewer to get onto your
computer. This lets them show you all the problems on your computer
by showing you Event
to convince you to pay them money and thus get your bank details.
Alternatively while they are doing this they will be looking at your
web browser to try and find your passwords.
ever, let anyone connect to your computer unless you absolutely
trust them (Takes a small
they start talking about money put the phone down straight away.
They will ring back to try to pretend to be genuine. They’re not.
you see your mouse or anything else suggesting that your computer
has a will of its own, just shut it down by pressing the power
button until the lights go out – about four or five seconds.
get expert assistance.
number two is an automated call telling you that something major will
happen (like your internet being cut off or failing to get a refund)
unless you press button ‘1’ on your phone. This puts you through
to a person who will try to extract your bank details and enough
information about you to pretend to be you.
just put the phone down.
number three pretends to be your bank, Amazon or someone. They will
be trying to get your credentials, maybe asking you for security
say ‘thank you’ and put the phone down. If they are genuine they
won’t mind. Then visit the website of the organisation they claim
to be from just to make sure – or call them on the number on a
statement or card from them. Don’t use any number or website the
caller gives you.
all cases, if you have given out any bank or card details:
the card issuer or bank immediately
and tell them;
your online banking logons and passwords;
up to a free credit checking service and monitor that for a while in
case the scammers try anything;
any other passwords on
any websites that
are important to you or access
your money like Amazon and PayPal.
a great shame that the world is like this but that’s the way it is.
Treat any phone call as a potential scam.
being besieged by scam and spam calls. So what can I do?
On my landline I could implement call screening where
anyone ringing my number has their call intercepted and they are
asked for their name. But that seems a bit brutal for a business as
it would probably put off new customers.
So a bit of a difficulty, maybe. But you can block specific
numbers on your line without needing a fancy telephone.
Talk Talk and Sky customers can block the last caller by dialling
14258 and pressing ** to confirm that they want the last number that
called to be blocked. Pressing 1 next reports it as a scam call
BT has a similar system on 1572.
In all cases you can manage the blocked numbers in case you want
to unblock one.
On my Android mobile, I open the phone app and either
select the call and ‘block number’ or click the three dots at the
top right the settings and call blocking to add numbers directly.
Iphone users need to go to the phone app, then the recents
tab. Tap the ‘i’ symbol by the unwanted number and ‘Block this
emails are being sent out asking you to renew your Office 365
subscription. It comes from MSOffice with the email
If you click on ‘renew now’ it takes you to
https://mso365.tech, that sort of
looks like a Microsoft site. When your login doesn’t work, then you
can use live chat, but this is for the scammers to get your user name
Always login to your account directly rather than clicking a link.
Or use Libreoffice instead – it’s free, did I mention that?
more people trying to get bank details. They never tire!
They will phone you and tell you to pay an outstanding amount for
your broadband or phone service. If you don’t give them your bank
details, then you will be disconnected.
Alternatively, an automated message will say the same and to press
‘1’ or a similar number to resolve the issue. This just connects
you to a premium rate number while they get your financial
OfCom doesn’t collect money for phone companies, so the real
Ofcom isn’t going to ring you up.
Or finally you might be rung on your mobile by a number that hangs
up immediately. When you ring back to see who it is, it’s a premium
rate line that you are calling.
43,875 people reported a serious scam last year that cost them £236 million. With little hope of getting it back. The simple scheme is to hack emails or intercept post so they know what bills you expect to receive soon. Then they email you a bill with their bank details, which people pay as they are expecting the bill. The name of the payee is correct but the bank account is wrong and banks don’t check the name on the account matches the payee.
As ever, if you are unsure, check with the people who sent the bill (and not by replying to the email!) that the amount is due and their payment details.
The latest attempt to get us to reveal personal information is an automated call that claims to be from one of your service providers.
It will say something like your broadband is about to be terminated. Press 1 to reconnect.’
If you do press 1 then you will be connected with an ‘expert’ who can help you. What they are expert at is getting your personal information such as name, date of birth, address and bank details.
Just put the phone down
These seem to be getting to a new level, involving identity theft before the bad guys ring up to tell you there is a problem with your computer. Remember when they ring, they can’t know there is a problem with your computer and if the problem is with the line they don’t need to get into your computer. Even if you put the phone down, they may well ring back – this does not mean they are genuine.
However, they are now doing much more with trawling social media to get to know more about you so that they can fool websites and call centres. The common security questions are things like date of birth, address, mother’s maiden name, first pet….. – all the sorts of things people put on social media or tell friends. How to get the information was illustrated very well in Coronation Street on 20 December last year (The 1930 episode gets the info 13:07 in and the 2030 shows the aftermath)
This means they can go down the route of pretending to be you forgetting your password.
When it comes to setting up your answers to security questions, the bank or whatever doesn’t care whether the answer is true or not – just that you give the answer they are expecting. So make up the responses you set up. This gives you another barrier against people using your identity.
1 What is phishing?
Now that anti-virus and other security packages are so good, the bad guys have had to find another way to get into your computer. They do this by social engineering, just like in the ‘Hustle’ programs on the TV. Continue reading Twelve things you really need to know to avoid ‘phishing’ attacks