POLICE in Barnet are warning residents to beware of bogus phone calls from people claiming to be from telecoms provider BT who are gaining access to residents’ computers before password-protecting them and demanding money to unlock them.
Residents are being urged to look out for a number with an STD code from Carmarthenshire in South Wales, which is 01269 849064.
The advice is never to allow remote access to your computer, to hang up the phone when you identify that the call is uninvited and never to divulge passwords or pin numbers.
A police spokesman tweeted via the @MPSBarnet twitter account: “Please be aware. Do not log onto your computer as they ask. If you give these people access to your PC, they will password-protect your machine and hold it to ransom. You have been warned!”
Meanwhile, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) says fraudsters can also claim to be from Microsoft and TalkTalk as well as the ‘Windows Technical Department.’
A spokesman said: “The victims are talked through the logon steps in order for the fraudster to gain remote access to the computer. The victims will then often witness the mouse moving and changes being made to the display. They then pay a fee - anything between £100 and £300 has been reported - and are told the problem has been resolved. Once the initial payment has been processed it is not uncommon for additional larger payments to be debited from the victim’s account without their permission.
“In addition to charging a fee to fix the computer, in some instances programs are also installed that allow the fraudsters unlimited access to the computer without the victim’s knowledge. This permits them to have access to information such as personal data as well as view online transactions so that further illegal activity may to be carried out.”
Anyone who has a home computer connected to the internet can become a victim. If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.