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Computer virus scam exposed

21 Jul 2011

Around 30% of New Zealanders have received calls from scammers runninga computer-based con – and around one in 20 are falling for it, according tothe Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

Jarred Rendle, representative of the Ministry’s Scamwatchprogramme, says the scammers call their victims claiming to work for Microsoft,then say a virus has been detected on the person’s computer.  

"Our reports show one in 20recipients are falling for this scam,” Rendle says, "losing an average of $200each time.

"Based on the New Zealand population, up to $10 million could havebeen swindled out of unsuspecting kiwis.

NetSafe places the number of victims higher, at around one inseven.

Martin Cocker, NetSafe executive director, says the scammers canspend up to several hours persuading victims their machines need cleaning orrepairing.

"We hear about people being called multiple times and quiteaggressive tactics being used.”

NetSafe invites consumers to report scammers here; however, Rendle's advice is simply to tell people.

 "Tell everyone you knowabout this scam. Share it with your friends, tweet it, write a letter to yourgrandparents. However you do it, spread the word, so New Zealand can, as acountry, tell these scammers that we’ve had enough and we’re not falling fortheir trickery.”