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Scam callers spark plea on security

Malvern Editorial 15th Jan, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

RESIDENTS have been urged to beef up their online security after two Ledbury residents were targeted by scammers attempting to steal personal information.

The victims reported to police they had been targeted by criminals pretending to be from computer software companies such as Microsoft or Internet service providers.

One person was told their computer was causing Internet problems in a nearby road, which the caller named to sound more plausible.

The scammers generally claim there is a virus with people’s computer and then ask them to switch it off and on before giving them further instructions to ‘fix the problem’.

However this enables remote access allowing them to look at personal files, Internet browsing history and even download software to the PC which would allows them to connect to it at a later time.

Fortunately the victims in both cases realised it was a scam and refused the callers’ requests putting the phone down.

Charles Naylor, crime reduction manager for West Mercia Police, said the scam was not just confined to Herefordshire.

“Never, under any circumstances, do anything with your computer that a cold caller asks you to,” he said.

“Once they have access to your PC, they can download software to it that allows them access whenever the Internet is connected.

“We are not aware of any software company or Internet provider that would call you or even be able to tell from afar themselves if there was a fault or virus on your PC.”

Police have subsequently issued further advice to PC owners to make sure anti-virus and anti-spyware software is installed and updated on a regular basis.

Installing Microsoft security updates will also help protect computers.

A police spokesman said any cold caller should be treated with suspicion and urged people never to give out personal bank details over the phone, by email or letter, to any unexpected person, despite who they might claim to be.

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