Software giants Microsoft slam Cumbernauld phone hoax

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A COMPUTER hacking scam is sweeping Cumbernauld with rogue callers persuading residents to access their PC and divulge personal details.

The bogus plot was unearthed after a couple were called three times in as many days by foreign men claiming to be from Microsoft, and asking for access to their computer.

“They are saying they are from Microsoft and that there are problems with your computer which they can fix; they just need access to it,” said Ravenswood resident Andrew Jackson (67), after he and his wife reported the calls to Cumbernauld police.

“I had actually been on to my internet provider recently for help with something on my PC, so I know my computer is fine, but a call like this would worry some people.

“They are really adamant that you have to go to your computer and switch it on and press certain things. It’s a total scam.”

Andrew’s background equipped him with the know-how to spot the veiled attempt to gain access to his personal information.

However, he fears other residents may not be aware of the callers’ techniques.

Andrew’s wife added: “It’s the same thing they say each time and I think it’s the same person too.They have a foreign accent but claim to be called John or Justin, calling from High Street Kensington, London.”

Cumbernauld police confirmed there was an ongoing investigation into phoning scams across Scotland and the UK, and asked residents to be dilligent.

Inspector Jim Borland said: “The best advice we can give is to not give out any information to anyone unless you know who they are.

“If someone comes to your door you can ask for confirmation of who they are, but over the phone it’s different.

“However, don’t pass any information to anyone unless you know who you’re dealing with.”

Microsoft also slammed the scam. Stuart Aston, chief security adviser with Microsoft UK, said: “We are aware of scams involving people claiming to be from Microsoft and needing remote access to consumer’s PCs. These scams are not new.

“We would remind users of Microsoft software that the company does not keep track of consumers that purchase their software and does not directly contact consumers for any reason whatsoever.

“Do not trust any caller claiming to be from Microsoft and needing access to your home PC.

“We do encourage people to keep safe when online and to always ensure the copy of Windows they are running is genuine and fully up to date. We encourage all PC users to visit http://update.microsoft.com”

Stuart added: “We also encourage users to download and install legitimate software to guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Free products such as Microsoft Security Essentials and Internet Explorer will help protect users from online threats.”