Call Centre Scam

An investigation by An Garda Síochána established that a sophisticated computer scam has been in operation since 2008 and has grown year on year.

The scammer's intention is to gain access to their victim's computer. They would give you (their intended victim) instructions over the telephone which would allow them to do this. The object of some of the scams is to sell you software you don't need or to steal personal or financial information. They may also set up your computer as a slave computer for other uses.

How do they do this?
The scammer would telephone your home claiming to be affiliated with a legitimate company such as Dell, Microsoft, McAfee or Symantec. The scammer would attempt to convince you that they had detected an infection on your computer or that they received a notification from your internet service provider reporting serious virus problems.

This episode of RTE's CrimeCall was produced by CoCo TV and aired in March 2011
Technical assistance for this episode was provided by RCL Networks.
To further secure your confidence, the scammer would instruct you to open a programme on your computer which displays a list of Windows events. Its contents are, to the average person, worrying. They look like a long list of errors, some labeled "critical". This however is perfectly normal. The scammers would then try to convince you that this was a sign of a serious infection and posed an imminent threat.

They would then offer to remove the infection for fees ranging from €49 to €450. If you agree to pay, the scammers would direct you to a website where you would enter a code they provided. This would download a software program that allowed the scammers to remotely access your computer and then further trick you into believing they had "removed" the nonexistent infection.

This and scams like it as well as new call centres and websites offering the same fake "service" continue to grow.
So far, many of these scams have been reported to originate from Indian based call centres.

If you believe you have been a victim of this scam or would like advice on how to protect yourself from such scams, please contact us.
Protect yourself
  • If you receive a phone an unsolicited phone call about your computer system's security status and requesting remote access, hang up! Even if they say they are calling from a well known company.
  • NEVER give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
  • If you have given remote access to your computer, or you fear that your computer has been hacked, seek out help or advice from a qualified and reputable computer technician.
  • Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call.
  • Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Research first and only purchase the software from a source that you know and trust.
  • If you have fallen victim to a scam or you receive a lot of unsolicited emails and phone calls consider changing your email address and phone numbers.
  • If you fall victim to the scam you may receive a follow up call falsely claiming to be from an overseas government or law enforcement body pretending they can recover the money you initially lost to the scam - Beware this is another scam.
  • If you are considering providing your details to a company, read their privacy policy/terms and conditions first. If you do not agree with how they will use your details, do not provide them.
  • If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.


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Last Updated: 28/05/2013