Stay safe online

From time-to-time we hear about customers who’ve been targetted by scammers and it seems to be on the increase.

The latest scam involves customers receiving calls purporting to be from ‘BT’ or ‘BT Openreach’  saying that they’ve detected slow broadband speeds, which can be fixed by downloading specialist software.   The software that they want you to install actually records every keystroke on your computer and ultimately will give the scammers access to usernames, passwords and other sensitive information.

This is what is called a ‘phishing’ scam.    It’s an attempt to steal your sensitive data by posing as a business you know or trust.

If you think you’ve been a victim of a phishing scam we recommend you:

  1. Change passwords for any accounts that you think might have been compromised.  Remember – if you’ve downloaded software, or if you have given scammers access to your computer, it might not be secure, so change the passwords from another machine.
  2.  If you entered credit card or online banking information during the period you’ve been compromised, call your bank and let them know straight away.
  3. Take your computer offline until you have ensured that the machine is free of viruses and malware (either by taking it to a specialist or by installing virus and malware detecting software).
  4. Watch out for any warning signs of identity theft.

Prevention is always better than the cure

Even if you can react to and stop a scam before it’s cost you any money, there’s still hassle and stress of dealing with the aftermath.  It’s much, much better to try to avoid scams in the first place.

Here’s our top tips for avoiding scams:

  • Be wary of calls from numbers you don’t recognise, or companies that call out of the blue
  • Be wary of WhatsApp or Facebook messages from companies offering you free gifts or claiming you’ve won a prize.
  • Avoid giving out personal information over the phone, unless you’ve taken steps to assure yourself that it’s a legitimate call
  • If you’re concerned that the call or message you’ve received might be a scam – call or contact the company using contact details that YOU find (for example from a bill) rather than using any contact details that might have been provided by a scammer.

Remember you can always get more information on scams and how to avoid them at www.actionfraud.police.uk

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