Over £21m reported lost to computer service fraud in a year
September 25th 2018
Action Fraud has launched a campaign to warn people about the threat of computer software service fraud, one of the country’s most reported top five frauds.
For more information and Get Safe Online's video on fake computer support calls, click here
- 22,000 victims reported losing £21 million in 2017/18. The actual losses are probably considerably higher.
- Action Fraud figures show that computer software service fraud is in the top five most reported fraud types.
What is computer software service?
Computer software service fraud can start with either a phone call, an email or a pop-up message appearing on your computer, stating there is something wrong with your computer or internet connection and that it needs to be fixed. However, there will either be a demand for payment to fix it, or they will install software on the computer which will allow the criminals to access personal and financial details.
In 2017/18, Action Fraud received 22,609 reports of computer software service fraud, with a total of £21,365,360 being lost to fraudsters. An intelligence report run by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has shown that men and women are equally susceptible to being targeted and the average age of a victim is 63. Figures also show that those living in London and Bristol are most likely to fall victim.
This week, Action Fraud and the City of London Police are issuing protection advice on their social media channels to help people avoid becoming a victim of this type of fraud using the hashtag #CuttingComputerFraud
It is also encouraging businesses to warn their customers about this type of fraud so that people are aware that they will never be contacted in this way.
City of London Police's Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Lara Xenoudakis said: "These fraudsters prey on vulnerable victims, doing everything they can to convince them there is something wrong with their computer. They use this as a way to gain immediate and in some cases multiple payments from the victim. During this campaign week, we are asking people to do everything they can to protect themselves from this type of fraud and stop fraudsters from thinking that this is an easy way to make money from unsuspecting victims.”
How to protect yourself from computer software service fraud
- Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer. Fraudsters make these phone calls to try to steal from you and damage your computer with malware. Treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism and don’t give out any personal information.
- Computer firms tend not to send out unsolicited communication about security updates, although they do send security software updates. If in doubt, don’t open the email.
- Computer firms do not request credit card information to validate copies of software. Nor do they ask for any personally identifying information, including credit card details.