“Hello! It’s Microsoft Tech Support here. We’re calling as our systems have detected a virus present on your PC. No… don’t worry… we can fix it remotely. All you have to do is follow my instructions…”

Sound familiar? Hopefully not, but unfortunately this is the nature of several fraudulent phone calls received recently by a number of people that we know.‘Phishing’ – the process whereby criminals send you emails purporting to be from your bank in an attempt to get you to enter your account details on a fraudulent website – is now a well known practice.

Most people have received phishing emails, and many receive them on a daily basis. The phone-based equivalent is not new, but has been less prevalent… until now.

A report published by Microsoft in June this year stated that 15% of the 7,000 computer users it surveyed had been targeted by a ‘tech support’ phone scam. On average, the scam cost victims over £500. Half of the victims reported subsequent computer problems, and almost one in five had suffered identity fraud.

As an IT support company that uses phone and internet-based support, we’re keen to ensure that none of our clients fall victim in the same way.

We therefore echo Microsoft’s own advice, and encourage you to:

• Be suspicious of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, even if they claim to represent Priority IT, Microsoft or any other respected company.

• Never provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited caller.

• Never go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.

If you ever need to verify that a call from Priority IT is genuine, simply call us back on our usual number, 01225 636000. We’ll never be offended… in fact, we’ll be pleased to see you taking your security seriously.

If you’ve already been targeted by a phone scam, we’d be interested to hear the details in order that we can alert our clients to the nature of the call. Simply email us with the details, or post a comment here on our blog.