Un­in­vited calls about viruses are just a scam

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

‘‘Hello, I am from Microsoft and we have found a virus on your com­puter.’’ These are the words which have greeted a num­ber of Mata­mata res­i­dents when they an­swered their phones re­cently.

Imatec So­lu­tions owner Ian Man­ton said peo­ple should not buy into it be­cause this was a scam and there were other sim­i­lar ones cir­cu­lat­ing.

Mr Man­ton said he had seen more com­puter scams in the past few months than there had been in the past five years.

‘‘In the last few months I have had a lot of peo­ple say­ing they are get­ting scams and I have seen two peo­ple lately who have been charged over their credit card,’’ he said.

‘‘Most of the scams are ex­e­cuted by a phone call at night say­ing they are from a par­tic­u­lar com­puter com­pany, but no one from a com­puter com­pany can tell if there is a virus on your com­puter. Even if they look le­git­i­mate, take their de­tails down and ask ad­vice be­fore you go any fur­ther.’’

He said there were two main scams cur­rently cir­cu­lat­ing.

The first one was a phone call from a per­son with a for­eign ac­cent say­ing they had de­tected er­rors in your com­puter; the sec­ond one was a call from com­pa­nies Vir­tual PC Doc­tor or Cisc­tron, both of which had made fake, pro­fes­sional-look­ing web­sites.

‘‘ We have had com­put­ers brought in that need their hard drive re­built and data re­stored,’’ said Mr Man­ton. ‘‘It is ex­tremely im­por­tant to be back­ing up your data, be­cause if you get scammed, you may lose it all.’’

A Mata­mata res­i­dent, who asked not to be named, also re­ported a scam to the Mata­mata Chron­i­cle and said he was very nearly caught out by it.

‘‘I re­ceived a phone call from Microsoft say­ing you have a virus in your com­puter. Af­ter 15 min­utes of ex­plain­ing where the virus is, the for­eign ac­cent asked for a MasterCard pay­ment to be made in or­der to get rid of the virus,’’ he said. ‘‘ I asked the woman mul­ti­ple times if it was a scam and they said no but as soon as they asked for a pay­ment I knew and hung up.’’

Mr Man­ton’s last piece of ad­vice is never give over credit card de­tails to any­one un­til you have checked they are safe.

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