Scam Warning - Fakers Seek Fees For Computer Fix

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning consumers across the state about scammers targeting consumers with threats of impending computer failure and seeking payment in exchange for a guaranteed fix.

Illawarra consumers have been the most recent victims, including an 83 year old from Balgownie in Wollongong who lost more than $600 overnight last Thursday.

The man responded to an offer of a free download of Windows 10 and a couple of hours later, received a phone call.

It was someone claiming to be from Microsoft telling him there was something radically wrong with his computer and offering a guarantee against ongoing rectification costs for a fee of a couple of hundred dollars.

The man logged onto his computer to find the scammer already had access and was uploading failure messages in an effort to convince the man to provide his banking details.

The scammer had the man’s email address, his full name and physical address and after the man provided his credit union account details; two withdrawals together worth more than $600 were made from one of his accounts, late on Thursday evening and early on Friday morning.

The man fortunately heard a report on local radio on Friday morning about a woman from Woonona, another suburb in Wollongong, who had been contacted by a scammer pretending to be a Telstra technician.

The scammer told the woman he needed to access her hard drive for essential repairs or she would lose internet service for a month. She hung up, rang Telstra and confirmed the scam.

When the 83 year old man contacted his credit union on Friday morning he was advised the payments had gone to a Khetan Management Services. The scammer had provided a non-existent phone number – 02 8014 7201.

Mr Stowe said scammers look for vulnerabilities, are ruthless in their pursuit of victims and have no moral compass whatsoever.

“I urge everyone to share this warning, with family members, friends and neighbours and within communities because we continue to see victims being robbed of their money and their dignity,” he said.

For more information on scams go to www.scamwatch.gov.au.