Northumberland County Council Trading Standards is warning residents to stay on their guard against fraudsters who claim they have identified a computer fault.
Users have been receiving phone calls from companies, often based abroad, that state they have been made aware of the problem by the computer’s operating system.
They offer to repair this by accessing the computer remotely which can lead to disclosure of personal passwords and any other security protection.
David Sayer, the council’s business compliance and public safety unit manager, said: “Trading Standards regularly warn local residents about scams in operation and these are becoming more elaborate. We have received a number of new complaints regarding this type of scam.
“Residents need to be very cautious when they receive calls out of the blue about issues with their computer because they are likely to be fraudulent.
“Scammers will often focus on the caller by trying to scare them into parting with money. Once they have taken money, they will often try again. Our advice is that you should not respond to these calls and seek professional computer guidance.”
The Trading Standards Service advises all computer users to learn about computer security by looking at sites, such as getsafeonline.org and takefive-stopfraud.org.uk – both of which carry case studies and a range of useful information that will teach users how to better protect themselves in the future.
Anyone who has received or been victim to a hoax email or phone call can ring the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.