A PENSIONER from Swindon has paid out thousands of pounds over the last three years to telephone conmen claiming to be removing dangerous viruses from his computer.

Eric Sutton, 87, of Old Town, has been receiving calls out of the blue from companies based all over the world dating back as far as 2013, they would tell him his IP address had been compromised and that his details were at risk unless he let them help him get rid of the problem.

Using a piece of software called Team Viewer, they would remotely access his computer which gave him the impression they were genuine.

It was only when Eric’s more computer-savvy step daughter spotted what was happening two weeks ago that the extent of the scam was realised, when he refused to hand over the latest payment the conmen locked his computer with a password meaning it is now completely unusable.

Eric said: “They phoned up and said they were Windows approved technicians or something like that, they showed me all these error codes on my computer and said they could make them go away.

“It would be around £100 for a year, £200 for two years and £300 for a lifetime.

“It has been happening for a long time now, I told them I was elderly and didn’t know a lot about computers.”

Luckily, on this occasion, Eric’s step daughter was at the house when the conmen were accessing the computer, she warned him about what they were doing.

Eric added: “I told them I wasn’t paying any more, they weren’t getting any money. Then he said my computer would be put out of action.

“He put a password on it and now I can’t get into the machine, I’ve asked several engineers whether they can do anything about it and they said it would take too long to figure out what the password is.”

Having his computer access blocked has meant that, at the moment, Eric is unable to contact his brother in Australia, he uses Skype to make it easier to keep in touch.

Julie Welsh, Eric’s step daughter, said: “I demanded to know who they were and where they were based but I just got all this rubbish in response.

“It was an Indian voice but then there was an icon of a white, British looking person, it’s clearly a scam.

“This has been going on for years, we hate to think how much he has paid them now - they pray on the vulnerability.”

The Adver has seen documents showing multiple payments each in the hundreds of pounds to three different companies since 2013 – Seven Monies Services and Reliable Tech Support who use US bank accounts and Global Web Solutions who claim to be based in Northern Ireland.

When we contacted Global Web Solutions we were put through to what appeared to be an Indian call centre, the staff there refused to comment except to say they would not speak to us because we were not customers.

Their registered address in Northern Ireland appears to be a farmhouse with no phone number listed.

Companies House list the firm’s director and sole shareholder as Ms Elaine Dunn but the number listed for her address also diverts to the call centre.

Eric has reported the scam to the police’s national Action Fraud team and is awaiting a response.