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15 February 2011, 17:14 | Updated: 1 March 2011, 18:05
Hundreds of people have been called by fake companies who tell them their computer has a virus that needs fixing.
With Scam Awareness Month continuing, Norfolk County Council Trading Standards Officers are warning of a computer virus related scam, which has seen more than a hundred people contact the department over the past few weeks.
People say they have been getting phone calls from scammers who claim to work for a computer software company, which varies from call to call, warning that they have found a virus on the person's computer.
The caller asks the resident to open a particular Internet link, which indicates that the computer has a number of errors.
Before ‘correcting’ the errors remotely, the caller requests an upfront fee.
If the resident pays the fee, which some people have, using their bank details to pay up to £150, the person who has been contacted allows the caller to remotely log into their PC - where the caller simply plays around with files, but doesn’t fix anything, as there were no errors in the first place.
Ann Jackson, Senior Trading Standards Officer, Norfolk County Council, said:
"If residents receive a call looking to fix computer errors remotely, they should not be taken in by it and should certainly not give out bank account details.
In Norfolk we have an extensive Trusted Trader service – which allows residents to search through a directory of traders, who have agreed to comply with strict standards and undergone a series of background checks as part of the accreditation process.
If you do have computer problems I would recommend contacting a trader from our directory."
Rob Lucas from RLS Computer Services is one of Norfolk County Council’s Trusted Traders.
He told Heart, "No-one can really have access to your PC, unless you've actually given them permission to do so and what they're doing is using clever wording, clever terminology to trick the actual victim that this issue is taking place."
He also told us how they try and confuse you, "They might ask you to visit a website and type in a web address and you'll see a fancy scanning thinking that it's a virus scan, or what they actually might do is they might actually ask you to give them access to your PC and they'll bring up lots of fancy, technical information on your screen."
The Trusted Trader Directory is available online and is updated on a regular basis at www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader
If anyone wants a printed version of the directory they can call 08454 04 05 06 or email firstname.lastname@example.org