Last year almost 2,000 people, mainly over-50s, were conned out of money by criminals claiming to work for the Microsoft helpdesk, police said in a new report.
In total, they were conned out of €7m, police say, with two victims losing €38,000 and €98,000 respectively. In 2016, there were 1,100 cases of Microsoft helpdesk crime.
The victims are phoned by someone, often with a heavy accent, claiming to work for Microsoft and alerting them to a problem with their computer. This could be a virus, an expired licence or an update.
The victim is then asked to download a programme which allows the con artist to take over the computer to fix the programme. The victim is then asked to pay using untraceable methods. In some cases the conmen and women have been able to access their victims’ bank accounts, police said.
Police say people should hang up immediately when phoned by someone claiming to be from Microsoft. The company itself says it never contacts people who have not requested help.
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