Police warning over latest computer scam

A Galloway Gazette reader called in to the office this week to warn fellow readers of a computer scam that she nearly fell for.

The reader had received a phone call from someone saying they were from ‘Windows’ telling her they had noticed that her computer had a virus.

Initially, she was taken in by them as they were “very plausible” sae said. It was only when they started asking her more personal questions she became suspicious and put the phone down. She has since heard from two others friends who received the same call.

A police spokensman said: “Police are again reminding local residents to be aware of the dangers associated with bogus callers. The warning comes after a particularly high number of bogus calls reports throughout the region . The calls varied in approach however thankfully no one was duped by the scams.

An elderly woman in Garlieston received five calls in a 15 minute period from an Indian sounding man. The man claimed he would get bank charges back for her. A relative of the elderly woman took over the call at which point the caller became threatening and abusive.

“A woman in Stranraer also received a call from a male with an Indian accent yesterday afternoon. He went on to state that his company owed the woman money and requested her bank details to return it. She refused and hung up. A second woman in Stranraer received a call from a different male claiming he knew her and asked if he could borrow a three figure sum of cash. When she questioned him he put the phone down on her. A third Stranraer woman received a call from an Indian sounding male who said she was owed money but was not clear how or why. He requested her to verify her bank details so money could be paid into her account. No details were passed and the woman alerted her bank.

“A woman in Thornhill received a call from an American sounding female who stated she had a virus on her computer and if she did not allow the caller access to the computer it would crash in two hours. The woman’s partner took over the call and questioned the female before hanging up. When the local couple redialled the number an Indian sounding voice answered the call.”

Chief Inspector Irvine Watson, Operational Commander for Galloway said: “We are pleased that no one fell for these scam calls, but sadly acknowledge that in the past some people have.”

“I congratulate all these people who handled these calls in the right manner – by simply not entertaining them. It was also useful that some people had family members nearby to assist.

“We are aware that many people have received these calls and recognise that those responsible will try all methods to catch you off guard, however when they use high pressure techniques or worse still, threats, then it becomes even more concerning. I would suggest to anyone who receives a call that starts to become that way to just hang up.”

“Threatening or abusive calls are a crime and if we can trace the people responsible they will be reported. To do this we need as much information about the callers as possible, so if you receive any suspicious call take down as much detail about the caller as you can, such as name, company they claim to work for and their telephone number, terminate the call and then contact the police.

“I would urge people under no circumstances give any personal or banking details to someone you do not know whether that be as a result of a phone call, or indeed email enquiries which purport to be from legitimate sources. Remember if something sounds too good to be true then it will in most cases be a scam of some description which will undoubtedly not be to your benefit regardless of the initial claims. Only deal with people and companies you fully know and trust and through an established contact method. If anyone has any concerns regarding these scam calls or their content please contact us on 0845 6005701 and we will be happy to offer advice and guidance regarding same.