Warning issued over "Microsoft" phone scam in Highlands

Issued by Police Scotland

Police are issuing a warning and advice on a phone scam reported to be targeting householders in the Highlands and Islands.

Three cases of suspected fraud have been reported to police recently in the Ross-shire, Strathspey and Stornoway areas. On each occasion the victim was advised by the caller, who claimed to be from 'Microsoft', that their Windows computer required a clean-up to get rid of viruses and resolve other technical issues.

A set amount was requested via a credit card before a larger sum was deducted with no proof of purchase or services provided. Unfortunately as a result of the recent fraudulent transactions victims had 3 figure sums charged to their accounts.

Police advise householders never to provide bank or card details over the phone during an unexpected/cold call and to take a telephone number to call the company back; a genuine company will be happy to take your call.

Further tips on protecting yourself from phone fraud:

Consider making your phone number ex-directory.

Don’t give out any personal information unless you are the one who made the call and you are certain of the identity of the person you are speaking to.

Don’t give out your credit card or bank card details to strangers on the telephone.

NEVER tell somebody your bank PIN number, even if they claim to be the bank or police. If the caller is genuine they will never ask for this information.

Don’t give out information which may infer that you live alone, are older or vulnerable.

Never send money to anyone who claims to have a prize for you.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Contact local trading standards – they may be able to use approved ‘call blocking’ technology. Police urge anyone who experiences similar calls to follow the tips above and to report the matter via 101.

5 May 2015