NetSafe is warning of a scam that is gaining momentum in New Zealand.
The con involves the scammer cold calling the victim and claiming to be from an IT support helpdesk, and then going on to plant malware on victims’ computers or offer to fix the computer for a fee – paid by credit card over the phone.
The scammers seem to be increasing the intensity of the scam, as just yesterday six calls, and already today two calls have been made to report the scam to their helpdesk.
According to Richard Parlett of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, telephone scams are becoming increasingly popular in New Zealand.
“Scamwatch has recently seen an increase in numbers of scam reports to us about cold-callers from ‘computer fixing’ companies, sometimes claiming to be from an ISP or even representing Microsoft.
“The telephone seems to be the method of choice lately. Reports of telephone scams in Australia, including this type of computer-fixing scam, have recently increased from about 200 to over 2000 a month. We’re seeing an increase in phone call scams from this side of the Tasman too,” he says.
The scammer offers personal information about the victim such as a date of birth or address, even purchase history, to convince the victim of the authenticity of the caller’s background. Martin Cocker of NetSafe says people shouldn’t worry about the scammer having that information, but to just hang up – and then let someone know about it.
“The information they offer about you will be stolen from websites. If you have been called in one of these scams we would urge you to hang up, and most importantly do not offer any information of your own, or allow them to remotely log into your computer,” says Cocker.