Cyber criminals strike

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A NEW wave of computer criminals is targeting Wearsiders.

Computer whizz Michael Gibbon is warning Wearsiders of a new scam circulating the city where criminals claiming to be from Microsoft are calling residents.

The caller asks if they are experiencing any problems with their computer, including it running slow.

They then ask to run a virus check to see if it is infected, which involves handing over remote access to them.

It is believed once inside, the conmen are able to flag up a fake page on the computer claiming it is infected with a virus.

They then offer to run a programme to clean the computer, at a cost of between £60 to £80.

But the conmen just run a fake programme before taking the cash.

Fears have also been raised that they are able to access personal information on computers once they have been given access.

Michael, who owns Doxford International Park-based Gibbon Online, said: “This is a complete con and is similar to ones I have seen being run in Sunderland.

“The cons seem to be getting more vicious and having more and more of an impact as they advance.”

In the last week, Michael has received four calls from clients who have been contacted by alleged Microsoft workers.

All of them have cut off the callers but Michael fears there may be people across the city who fall for the scam.

“I would always say to people that Microsoft never approach clients directly so you would never receive a call from them,” he said.

“I would simply say if you get a call, ignore them and put the phone down. It’s as simple as that.”

DS Alan Batey, of Northumbria Police’s computer crime unit, added: “This is a well-known scam and we strongly advise not to give out any security details to cold callers.

“Anyone who gives the caller access to their computer is not only putting the security of their computer at risk but they will be charged for the service.

“Don’t worry about being polite to these people, simply hang up.”