Reassura Guide: Technical Support Fraud

Reassura Guide: Computer Software Service or Technical Support Fraud

The phone call or email from Microsoft, British Telecom, Apple or Amazon, or should we say someone claiming to be them is becoming a frequent occurrence for most of us. What they want is to either directly take your money, install spyware so that they can digitally steal your money or your identity. In 2017 ActionFraud had over 34,000 reported cases with an average loss of £600.

What are the most common of these frauds?

Cold-Calling Fraud

Many of us have received a ‘cold call’ telling us that there is a virus on our computer or that something’s wrong with our internet connection. They will usually offer to fix the problem for a fee. They may go further, saying that the problem can be fixed more quickly (and possibly less expensively) if they can have remote access to your computer.

Once the fraudsters have access to your computer they will work quickly and undetected to install sophisticated software onto your computer, which will enable them to access your personal information and potentially log every key stroke you make thereafter.

Fraudsters can be very smart at disguising their telephone number so that it looks like a UK or a local number, this is not a sign of authenticity!

E-Mail Fraud (phishing)

With this particular fraud, you will receive an unsolicited email or an unexpected pop-up window while browsing online. The email might say, “Click on the link to begin important computer software updates” or “Input credit card details to validate your copy of Windows”.

Microsoft, Apple, Google and other legitimate computer software providers will never contact you by email or phone unless you have initiated contact and requested a call back.

How to avoid becoming a victim of Tech Support Fraud

  • Be on guard- for any unsolicited phone calls or pop-up messages
  • Don’t Call – the telephone numbers in pop-up windows or emails you receive (these may look genuine, but you will be calling the criminals instead of the official organisation).
  • Don’t Click– don’t respond to unsolicited emails or pop-up messages or click any links embedded in an email. Delete them.
  • Never give control – (remote access) of your computer to a third party, unless you can confirm that it is your computer software provider and that you initiated the contact, even then be super wary.
  • Hang-up if you’re not a customer– If you are not a customer or subscriber of the company that is initiating contact (even if they know your personal details) hang up or delete the email or text message
  • Call Reassura– on 0800 888 6400 to speak to our Fraud Advisors if you want to check out if it’s a genuine
  • Keep your computer safe– make sure you have up to date anti-virus protection on your computer and that you also keep your browser and operating system updated.
  • Check your protection– regularly check to see that your anti-virus software is turned on and run a full safety check.
  • Keep App Safe- Never use third party App stores – Only ever download Apps onto your mobile phone from official App stores such as Apple App Store, GooglePlay and Amazon Appstore

What to do if you’re the victim of Computer Software/Tech Support fraud.

  • If you are worried about having given personal details to such a call/email etc contact CIFAS
  • If they have your bank or credit card details, contact your bank or credit card provider
  • If you have already downloaded a virus or have given someone remote control of your computer, locate a trusted computer repair specialist to determine if anything malicious has been installed on your computer and have it removed.
  • Install or update your anti-virus software.
  • Contact Action Fraud to report the crime:
  • Visit or call 0800 888 6400

See also: The Reassura Video Guide to Technical Support Fraud