PENSIONER Ray Butt has warned fellow computer users to take extra care after being caught up in a new phone scam.
Ray, 72, of Lydiard Millicent, found his computer completely scrambled by hackers after receiving a call from what he thought were representatives from Microsoft.
Fortunately, he clocked on to the scam before parting with any cash but not before the hackers had gained access to his device.
The keen jazz musician now wants to warn others of the dangers.
Ray said: “I was at home when I received a call from a lady who said she was from Microsoft. I said I was not available at that moment in time and left it there but she called back later.
“She said my PC was registering a number of errors and my machine would eventually slow up and close down. I asked her ‘How do I know you’re from Microsoft?’ but she was very convincing and knew how to hold a conversation.”
Believing the woman was from the computer company, he followed her instructions to press several keys on the keyboard and almost straight away the hackers had access to Ray’s computer.
“There were numbers and letters scrolling across the screen and they appeared to be performing a scan of some sort which eventually finished, claiming there were 7,023 errors in my computer,” he said.
“I was then passed on to a man who asked me to type in 5143 to look at the errors and find out how to fix them. I was taken in. Looking back I could kick myself.”
It was at this point the caller said Ray could pay for protection from the problems with several options, ranging from one year’s cover to lifetime coverage.
Ray indicated that should he buy an option it would be the lifetime option but he would not be doing so there and then. The caller then became quite persistent in asking him how he would pay.
After several minutes Ray hung-up but received several calls from them throughout the afternoon.
“My computer was completely gone at this point so I shut it down,” said Ray.
“I phoned PC World after the first call and they were extremely helpful. They explained to me that this is a regular issue and there are a lot of cases like this.
“I just want people to be aware of the problem and to take care. It is very easy to fall for.”
Luckily for Ray, PC World was able to talk him through how to reset his computer and it is now working again, but Trading Standards has warned computers users to be aware as tracing the perpetrators is difficult.
A spokesperson for Trading Standards said: “They are hard to tackle as the scammers are often from places like India or China which makes it extremely difficult to trace them, let alone deal with them.
“The best line of defence is for people to be aware of them and not to be taken in. The scammers are plausible and can contact you either by email, or by phone. “Once they have access to your computer, they can steal information or hold it to ransom.”