Warning over online PC repair scam

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A WARNING has been sent out over cold callers offering to repair people’s PCs online.

they could end up being duped by a rogue remote robber.

The warning comes from West Sussex County Council Trading Standards Service, which over the last three months has received more than 50 complaints concerning companies offering to fix PC ‘problems’ remotely.

“The vast majority of companies appear to be based in the Indian sub-continent. But some seek to re-assure consumers by having an accommodation or registered office in the UK,” said Graeme MacPherson, Head of Trading Standards.

“However, the fact a company has an address in the UK doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually trading from here.”

“The caller tells the consumer they have been given their details by their internet service provider because their computer has been infected with a virus.

“Some companies go as far as saying they are part of Microsoft.

“They go on to say this ‘problem’ can be fixed remotely for a fee and all the consumer has to do is download a file from their website to allow the company remote access to their PC.

“The reality is the caller has no way of knowing if the consumers computer is affected by a virus – it’s just a way of signing someone up to an online computer maintenance contract of dubious worth.

“There is also the obvious danger of giving someone remote access to your computer - for example: identity fraud and accessing passwords to online banking.”

West Sussex Trading Standards Service advice is:

One: If you are worried about your computer having a virus, buy a reputable well known anti virus program. They are easy to download or can be bought at computer stores.

Two: Never allow anyone remote access to your personal computer.

Pete Bradbury, County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “If you’re cold called about so-called PC problems, follow the advice of our Trading Standards Service – put the phone down.”

If you feel you have been the victim of this sort of online scam you can let Trading Standards know or get further advice by calling 08454 040506.