Cold callers are posing as staff from telecoms companies or other well-known organisations such as Microsoft and Amazon and asking consumers to download software which will allow the scammer to gain remote access to their computer. They may say that:
- there is an issue with your internet connection and they need to gain access to your computer to perform tests and fix it
- your account has been compromised and several payments have been made
- there is an issue with your router – you are asked to check the lights on the box and then to boot up your computer to check the signal strength.
In all cases, the caller asks you to visit a website and download either software or an app which will allow them to gain remote access to your computer. This will also potentially allow them access to any personal and banking details stored on the device.
According to data published in November 2020, victims of computer takeover scams lost more than £16 million in 2020.
What is remote access software?
Remote access software allows you to use one device to access another from any location by downloading an app or installing a program on your computer. The two devices can then be connected using a code.
Many legitimate businesses use this technology, but unfortunately, criminals can also use it to gain access to victims’ data, passwords and financial information.
Find out more about remote access scams from Which?
What to do:
- Never follow instructions from an unsolicited caller to download an app or software which would allow them to access your computer remotely
- Don’t give any personal or account information to a cold caller
- If in doubt, hang up and contact your internet provider using details found on their official website
- Report scams to Advice Direct Scotland
- If you’re worried that you have given a scammer access to your computer and that your details have been hacked, contact your bank immediately – they may be able to stop the money leaving your account. You should also report it to Police Scotland on 101