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North Yorkshire Police warns about the threat of Computer Software Service fraud as victims in the UK report losing more than £21 million in one year

Last modified: 25 September 2018 at 02:01pm

North Yorkshire Police is supporting a campaign led by Action Fraud to warn people about the threat of Computer Software Service fraud, one of the country's, and North Yorkshire’s, most reported top five frauds.

What is Computer Software Service Fraud?

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.

New intelligence

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.

Raising awareness

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.

Commenting on the campaign, Detective Inspector Jon Hodgeon, Head of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud and Economic Crime Unit said:

“Computer Software Service fraud is one of the most reported frauds in North Yorkshire and across the UK.

“These fraudsters prey on vulnerable victims, doing everything they can to convince them that there is something wrong with their computer and that they can help them to solve the problem.

“They will use well-known names such as Microsoft, Apple or a broadband provider to gain their victims trust and sound more legitimate.

“Remember, a genuine computer service company will never call you out of the blue regarding issues with your computer.

“If you receive a call of this nature hang up straight away and never allow anyone to remotely access your computer.”

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.

What is Action Fraud?

Action Fraud is run by the City of London Police and is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, providing a central point of contact for citizens and businesses. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau also hosted by the City of London Police, acts upon the information and crimes reported to Action Fraud, developing and disseminating crime packages for investigation locally, regionally and nationally, and executing a range of disruption and crime prevention techniques for victims across all sectors to target criminality and engineer out the threat from fraud and cyber crime.

You can report fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk .

To chat to an Action Fraud adviser, please visit the Action Fraud website for their 24/7 web chat service.

If you are a business, charity or other organisation that is suffering a live cyber attack please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 immediately, where their specialist advisors are waiting to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More advice on how to keep safe from fraud can be found at northyorkshire.police.uk/fraud 


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