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Don't fall for this one (or any others)

(32 Posts)
Elegran Tue 25-Oct-11 11:43:43

Triggered by a thread on another topic, I am started this thread to expose some of the internet scams that are floating about trying to catch us out.

The first is the one mentioned by HildaW Someone phones you saying (in a heavy accent) that he/she is from Windows and it is possible that you have a problem. They can sort it online, if you just turn on your computer and do as they say. Then they guide you through some moves and persuade you to hand over some money to them, and to buy a fake "computer maintenance subscription"

Put the phone down on them. There is no way that this is genuine.

Here is a page by Microsoft describing the scam.

em Tue 25-Oct-11 12:06:13

Had this experience recently and told the caller in no uncertain terms that I would not allow him to access my computer. 5 minutes later came another call from 'the supervisor' who congratulated me on my vigilance, reassured me and told me it was now perfectly safe to proceed. Of course I didn't, but to someone less sceptical it might have made it more plausible and, having spoken to 'the supervisor' they might have fallen for it.

Carol Tue 25-Oct-11 12:24:17

Let's include unsolicited scam emails offering funds to be released from a variety of foreign banks and other organisations. I am so tired of having to delete emails purporting to come from the FBI (proceeds of solved crime due to me), Nigeria (millions of pounds that need laundering through my account), The Royal Family (did I realise that a distant royal relative had died in Europe, and my share of the inheritance could be over 1 million?) and so on.......

In the last year, action has been taken to receive reports of such scam frauds, and you can forward these emails to, or you should simply delete them without bothering to open them.

Here's their website

Carol Tue 25-Oct-11 12:27:39

Forgot to mention, you can see a lengthy list describing types of fraud/scams on this same website. Here's the direct link

FlicketyB Tue 25-Oct-11 13:44:07

Surely the real message is if anybody cold calls you to sell you anything as soon as you realise put the phone down. It is almost definitely a scam. For years DH has been targetted by Boiler rooms trying to sell dud shares. He even got the letter from the Financial Ombudsman warning him about them as his name had been found on a list. In the ten years or more they have been contacting him I do not think one of them has got more than 10 seconds into the call before the phone is put down. Our savings are intact - and so is my computer. I have had at least six of these computer scam calls in the last few months.

HildaW Tue 25-Oct-11 14:11:31

Flickety, its true than any call unsolicited is likely to be a scam but they are getting so darn devious. The one I got today that prompted my message would have caught out an unwary person. They use the name 'Windows' they personalise the 'script' by saying something like 'I expect you are sitting at your computer' etc. Many people have an 'over the counter' lap top or computer and are not fully aware of how vunerable they are without all the neccessary security devices. I dont know everything, thankfully husband is good at a lot of computer issues and his son works in IT so we get lots of good advice. My other moan is that although I know these calls are scams I've still not developed a strategy to deal with them. Most of the time I just put phone down when I hear that familiar 'call centre' background noise. But another time I've just let them drone on and part of me wants to challenge them, how dare they engage in criminal activity so blatantly! We are already on a phone preference list what else can be done?

FlicketyB Tue 25-Oct-11 14:40:23

HildaW, my standard response as soon as I realise what the call is, is 'I am not interested, Goodbye' and I put the phone down.

Cold callers will use weasle words, like Microsoft and Windows but if it is a cold call it is a scam. If someone rings saying they are from an energy supplier, bank or anyone like that I just say I will look their number up and ring back. If it is genuine, you can soon get through to the right department. If they insist that is not possible and they have to give you a number, it is a scam.

kittylester Tue 25-Oct-11 14:45:31

We are often contacted by "Sky" to let us know that they have noticed our Sky insurance is out of date. We do our real Sky insurance (which is probably a "legit" scam but gives us peace of mind) by DD but I know lots of people are taken in by this.

HildaW Tue 25-Oct-11 14:48:51

Flickety, you are right of course - but some poor folks are not as worldly wise and its good to remind them that it happens.

gracesmum Tue 25-Oct-11 14:51:32

I love these!! I usually say something like "Can you just hang on a minute while I turn the cooker off/let the dog in/turn the radio down" then I leave the phone and go away. They have always hung up by the time I get back!

I have also said that I don't have Windows/Misrosoft/a computer on occasion just for a change.

janthea Tue 25-Oct-11 15:50:45

I don't even both saying anything - I just hang up!! grin

shysal Tue 25-Oct-11 16:40:08

I have caller ID on my phone, so I just don't answer calls from numbers I don't know, especially international and 0800 ones. Any genuine caller can leave a message when the ansaphone kicks in. I do find that they keep trying for a day or two, but then they give up for about a month before starting again.

HildaW Tue 25-Oct-11 16:43:47

Shysal....thanks for that, yes I do think it will help. I do know these people are scamming but I hate the fact they can 'pollute' my home with their calls. Yes, I know its best to just put the phone down but it still annoys me that they are so blatant.

Elegran Tue 25-Oct-11 16:57:28

shysal We have caller Id on our phone too, and we try to ignore any unknowns, which come up as "Out of area" for foreign cold callers and "personal caller" for those who withhold their number - usually British cold callers. We reckon that if they don't want us to know their number, we don't want to know them.

This sometimes falls over, though. For instance, DH gets regular visits from a community nurse from the local hospice - and they don't have their number listed. so it could be her to say there is some problem so she will be late. We have just sold a weekend cottage - and for some reason their number too does not display, so we could have missed an important development.

We have had to learn to moderate the rather snappy response we used to give when we answered the phone to a supposed cold caller

Elegran Tue 25-Oct-11 17:30:35

I should have said it was the estate agent, not the cottage.

Sbagran Tue 25-Oct-11 17:55:36

I love to Ebay and pay via paypal - paypal themselves are great but never never never respond if you get an email regarding a problem with 'your paypal payment to' and then they give a name or ID, or indeed any odd sounding message from paypal.

I have had several of these emails - all to my ordinary email account not via Ebay - I never open them but simply forward them to the below address ...

[email protected]

I always receive a response. Paypal are very vigilant about these things. They will confirm if they are legitimate (but mine never have been!). They need to know about these things to be able to deal with them as their reputation is as stake.

I too have received calls saying I'm due for some windfall or other but I just wish them the compliments of the season grin and they go away.

My caller display gives 'withheld' but sadly that includes several friends who are ex-directory, hospital extension and the coastguard station where my husband works - so 'withhelds' are not always scams. We never answer 'international' as normally they are cold sellers and as someone else stated - if ligit they will leave a message on the ansaphone.

They really do bug me though - we used to have awful problems when my dear Mum was alive because she always thought them to be 'such a nice man'. Fortunately she was never actually caught but more by luck than judgement where the elderly are concerned.

Annobel Tue 25-Oct-11 18:19:32

I was caught out by an email claiming to be from Virgin, alleging a problem with my account. I foolishly gave my details, before suddenly remembering that I had had a similar email before and reported it to Virgin! Why did I believe it second time round if I'd sussed it the first time? I think I'd just woken up and wasn't completely compos mentis. Well, that's my excuse. In the event, I had to have my debit card changed which caused me considerable inconvenience. confused

Carol Wed 26-Oct-11 09:22:12

I have received an email from 'Barclays Bank' this morning, asking me to phone them about my account. I have never had a Barclays account. I have forwarded it to

pompa Wed 26-Oct-11 09:57:18

The bottom line is :- Always assume emails from financial or similar institutions are fake and out to con you - delete them, do not open them. If in the extremely unlikely event that they really do want you to respond , they will contact you another way.
If they phone you, do not give any details, not even your name or postcode. If you think it may be genuine, ask for their name, company, dept, contact address and phone number, say you will ring them back. BUT don't ring back, ring a number for the company, that you know is genuine and ask them about the call, they will be able to confirm if it is genuine or not, only then phone back if you are sure they are genuine.

I get a dozen or so spoof emails each week, I can't remember a genuine one.

Sbagran is right, most banks etc have an address that you can forward spoofs to.

jinglej Wed 26-Oct-11 10:42:59

I've come up against this one recently. Luckily I cut them off but I was left wondering just a bit if I had dome the right thing.

Thanks Elegran

Elegran Wed 26-Oct-11 11:01:30

Carol I was just about to mention the bank scams, but you beat me to it. When you do not even have an account with that bank, or no online banking, it is easy to spot, but someone who has a connection to the bank - has perhaps just started online banking - could easily be conned.

As you say, contact the bank direct. All banks have links on their websites to an address to forward these scams to. They are pleased to get them, even if you are not a customer, as it gives them ammunition against the scammers.

harrigran Wed 26-Oct-11 12:57:16

I had a message from Barclays, I don't have an online account, it was very believable, the logo, everything and then I noticed the phone number and the registered company number was not correct. Don't get me started on phone scams, many times been tempted to use unladylike language.

HildaW Wed 26-Oct-11 13:42:55

Jinglej....thats the decent folks were brought up to be polite and respond positively to authority figures...or at least I was (domineering father but thats another story).....but we dont like seeming to be rude and we do worry about 'doing the right thing'. Hey ho...never mind have just organised my posh new Caller ID and screening phone!

Elegran Wed 26-Oct-11 13:57:13

harrigran I think they are used to unladylike language. DS worked for a while on the phone-in help desk of an IPS, trying answer people's IT problems. He got dogs abuse from some ignoramuses for his efforts. Those who cold-call for scammers must need asbestos ears.

Annobel Sun 30-Oct-11 14:50:37

Age UK has a leaflet about all sorts of scams