Ring, ring: It's your con artist speaking
By Andrew Koubaridis 5:30 AM Wednesday Nov 10, 2010
Aggressive foreign scammers are again targeting New Zealanders, this time by urging them to change settings on their computers in an attempt to obtain personal information.
Within the past two days, hundreds of people have received telephone calls from people claiming to be Microsoft employees or from IT companies in Dubai and NZ warning that their computers could be infected with a virus.
The caller - a man or a woman with a foreign accent on a poor line - asks for passwords, which they claim they need to get rid of the virus.
In some cases the caller has become aggressive and defensive when challenged by those who don't believe the story.
Police say anyone who receives such a call should hang up.
Tauranga woman Anita O'Connor said she answered a call from a woman with a thick foreign accent who told her she'd had an error message from her computer.
"She said she was from an IT support company and that I needed to go to my computer now."
Ms O'Connor told the Herald the caller said "do what I say", but instead she challenged her by again asking where she was from.
"The more I kept stalling the angrier she got. I asked her if she could tell me who my internet provider was and she said, 'it's not important'."
Ms O'Connor said she would call her back and requested her name and number, but the woman hung up.
Aucklander Brian Thomas had a similar call, from someone claiming to represent a company in Waitakere - although the caller could not pronounce "Waitakere" properly.
The caller told Mr Thomas his computer had a virus.
"He wanted me to go to my computer and follow his instructions to rectify the 'problem'."
Mr Thomas had other ideas though. "I had some fun first winding the loser up before he got annoyed and hung up on me."
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs's "Scamwatch" advises being "very wary" about giving out PC details over the phone to strangers.
Spokesman Richard Parlett said Scamwatch had noticed an increase in the number of scam bids being made in phone calls, rather than emails.
"It can be a lot harder to put the phone down then to hit delete," Mr Parlett said. |
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Phone scam warning in Wellington
7:06 AM Tuesday Nov 9, 2010
NZHPolice are warning of a new phone scam targeting Wellingtonians, with someone claiming to be a Microsoft employee calling victims willing to help fix a virus on their computer.
The Police Central Communications Centre received nearly 40 phone calls from Wellington residents last night who had received a phone call from a bogus Microsoft employee.
This followed around 50 similar calls to Wellington, Hutt Valley and Kapiti residents on Wednesday and Thursday last week.
The caller claims to work for Microsoft and offers assistance to help get rid of a virus, by disclosing computer passwords.
Police advised anyone who received a call of this nature to hang up immediately.
The scam has been reported to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs through its Scam Watch website.