Software As A Service Fraud

Computer software service fraud occurs when fraudsters posing as legitimate companies, such as your internet service provider (ISP) or Microsoft, call to tell you that there’s a problem with your computer. They’ll say something like:

  • There’s a virus on your computer

  • There is something wrong with your computer

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  • Or your router or internet connection are not performing properly

 

They might say that they can fix the problem for a fee, or alternatively they can compensate you for the problem you are experiencing. What these fraudsters really want is for you to unwittingly grant them remote access to your computer by installing software or visiting a particular website, and for you to give them your payment details.

More recently, fraudsters are now ringing with an automated line purporting to be from your bank stating that a transaction has been made that needs authenticating. If you disagree, you press a button to say it was not you, you will then be forwarded on to the fraudster directly, who will confirm whether or not you are calling from a phone or computer. They will try to encourage you to download Any Desk or Quick support, asking for access to your bank account, eventually locking you out and transferring your funds to a crypto wallet.

 

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT

The majority of these frauds are carried out overseas through international call centres, but by reporting such calls to Action Fraud, important intelligence can be gathered and preventative action can be taken by the police. For example, suspending telephone numbers and websites used to commit this type of fraud.

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

  • Legitimate companies like Microsoft and Google will never cold call you asking for remote access to your computer or for your financial details.

  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up. Even if the caller is able to provide you with details such as your full name, don’t give out any personal or financial information during a cold call.

  • Only install software or grant remote access to your computer if you’re asked by someone you know and trust, such as a friend or family member, and never as a result of an unsolicited call, browser pop up, or text message.

  • If you think you have downloaded a virus, consider having your computer looked at by a trusted technician in order to determine if malicious software was installed on your machine during the call. On advice on how to recover an infected device please visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/hacked-device-action-to-take

  • Always question unsolicited calls, texts or emails requesting your personal or financial information (Name, address, bank details, email or phone number). If you are concerned about any unauthorised or unusual transactions requested via your bank, please hang up and contact your bank directly using a known email or phone number identified through official paper work you have received in the past.

DID YOU KNOW THAT

  • Fraudsters will keep your details so they can contact you again pretending to be a ‘Recovery Company.’ They usually advise victims that they can recover the lost amount for a small fee.

  • There are free services like the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to block unsolicited calls.

  • Having anti-virus software installed on your devices and keeping it up to date will help prevent your computer from being infected with malicious software.