Lancashire residents have been scammed out of £100,000 by a people purporting to be from a telecommunications company, say police.
Four reports to the county’s constabulary in the last week from residents in Preston, Nelson, Blackpool and Blackburn show that victims have been conned out of over £100,000.
Police say that in each case the victims were called on their landlines by someone alleging to be from a respected supplier.
The caller states that their routers have been compromised or their internet and email account hacked. In order to fix the problem, they ask that the victims turn their computers on and then direct them to a web address to download a piece of software.
The software allows the caller to access the victim’s device – where they will show them so-called evidence that they are being hacked, before requesting that they log in to or register for internet banking. The caller then clears bank accounts, claiming to be protecting the money from hackers. In some cases they have also applied for loans and credit cards in the victim’s name.
DC Danielle Lilley of Lancashire Police said: “These types of scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can appear realistic but we’re urging people to be extra vigilant and suspicious of cold calls.
“Always question the caller’s intentions and never give out any personal information or grant access to your files or devices.”
Advice from police:
- Be suspicious of cold calls relating to a computer security system problem, even if the caller claims to represent a respected company.
- Never give out personal information, such as credit card or bank details to a cold caller
- Don't type anything into a computer, install software, visit any websites or follow any other instruction unless you are confident that the call is genuine.
- Under no circumstances let the caller take control of your computer system. They can gain access to all your personal files and harvest information.
- Do not put log-in passwords into websites if someone else can see your screen.
- If the cursor on screen starts moving and you are not in control of it, immediately disconnect your device from the Wi-Fi and switch it off. End any landline calls you are on.
- Never attend your bank as a result of a cold call and transfer money to unknown persons.
Victims of fraud should contact police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
For more information, help and advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud visit www.actionfraud.police.uk