Fylde computer ‘fix’ con

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FRAUDSTERS are targeting the Fylde coast, pretending to be computer engineers from Microsoft.

Warnings were issued late last year about the unsolicited calls from an overseas call centre purporting to work for the software giant’s technical support service..

But the scammers have launched a second round of calls to homeowners on the Fylde coast.

The caller typically advises the victim their computer is infected with ‘viruses’, which can be repaired if the caller is given control of the machine.

Attempts are then made by the caller to obtain money from victims, some of who have lost up to £500 at a time for unneeded ‘software fixes’.

Pensioner Robert Jacobs from Thornton said he received a call last week.

He said: “This man told me his name was William and that he was calling on behalf of Microsoft.

“I told him I had been having problems with my computer and he started telling me why.

“But then I got suspicious because he was asking for too many details.

“In the end I hung up on him.

“He was very convincing to a point. People need to be made aware of these cheats.”

Gazette readers from St Annes, Blackpool and North Shore also reported receiving such calls.

Blackpool Council is advising residents to be aware of the ongoing attempts by computer fraudsters to scam cash.

A spokesman said: “The public should be aware that Microsoft never use cold-calling methods to sell their products.

“These calls are from scammers, who are intent on taking victims’ money and gaining access to personal information on computers.

“The advice is to immediately hang up. Likewise you should never allow strangers remote access to your computer or part with personal information which can be used to steal your money.”

The genuine Microsoft website offers further advice on this scam on www.microsoft.com

Further advice for Blackpool residents can be obtained by contacting Blackpool Trading Standards Consumer Advice Unit on (01253) 478375.