DETI Press Release "Consumers warned about computer related phone scam"

Consumers are being warned not to give their credit card details out to cold callers following reports of a computer-related phone scam.

In this latest scam, householders receive a phone call from a person claiming to represent major PC or software companies. They ask for credit card details and, in some cases, remote access to home computers.

Stephen Thompson, Consumerline manager, explained: "We have received a number of complaints from consumers about this computer-related scam. Some of the callers claim that the consumer's home PC has a virus, system crash or is running slowly.
"They go on to say that they can resolve the 'problem' with the computer remotely- if the consumer gives them their credit card details and/or remote access to their PC."
Warning consumers to be wary of these kinds of calls, he added: "Never give an unknown caller access to your computer. There are some sites which you could be asked to log on to that will give remote access to the data on your PC. Never ever give your credit or debit card details to anyone who cold calls you."
With Christmas approaching, the Consumerline manager warned that shoppers on the hunt for bargains are easy targets for fraudsters.
He added: "Many scam websites look almost identical to legitimate websites. While scam sites are closed down, it is harder for the authorities to close down sites based abroad, and similar scam websites tend to appear quickly anyway."
"Tiffany & Co., Ugg and GHD are some of the most commonly copied websites. Bogus sites can often appear at the top of Google listings in the sponsored links. Many fake websites either don't deliver goods at all, or will deliver poor quality counterfeit goods.
"It's always a good idea to use the European Consumer Centre's 'Ask Howard' at http://uk.theshoppingassistant.com where you can get help in avoiding scam websites."
Some tell-tale signs to consumers to watch out for:
1. scam websites often don?t have a phone number or postal address on their site
2. just because a site's url ends in .co.uk doesn't mean that it's based in the UK
3. sites that ask for payment by bank transfer should make you wary ? there is no protection on your money if you pay this way
4. many legitimate websites such as www.ghdhair.com and www.uggaustralia.com offer a facility to check if a site is a genuine retailer.
Consumers who have feel that they are a victim of a scam or suspect a scam should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or alternatively log onto the Consumerline website at: http://www.consumerline.org