CYBER fraud detectives say they’ve seen a rise in the number of calls from scammers posing as internet service providers, telephone companies and couriers.

Det Sgt Ian Magrath of Wiltshire Police’s Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit said victims had lost anything from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands. 

He told the Adver: “It’s something we’ve picked up on and have been paying close attention to over the last couple of months.” Beat officers were being warned about the new scam to ensure they were on the lookout. 

Police forces nationally have warned of a rise in cyber crime over the past year. Last November, the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of spy agency GCHQ – said it had fought off more than 700 cyber attacks in the past 12 months, including 200 linked to coronavirus-related frauds such as organised criminals posing as PPE suppliers.

Det Sgt Magrath said Wiltshire Police had seen the usual romance and investment frauds. 

“The other one that we’ve seen a rise in is phone calls coming into people purporting to be from an internet service provider, telephone company or a delivery company and then trying to get people to go online,” he said. 

“For example, the internet one will be a call to say ‘we see your internet coverage isn’t great at the moment, can we direct you to a windows prompt?’ The person making the call is then pretty much remoting into someone’s computer. 

“That’s then allowing them access to that person’s computer. We have seen that manifest itself into banking transactional crime, so people losing out with funds taken out of accounts.” 

In some cases tens of thousands of pounds had been lost, he said.

What to do if you think you've had a scam call or text

Check the details of the sender or caller. A bank or internet service provider won't be texting or calling you from a personal 07 mobile number - and they won't ask you for pin numbers or transfer cash.

If you get a call purporting to be from your bank or another and the caller gives you a number to call back direct, don't use it - find the genuine customer enquiries number online or on your statement and call that instead.

Consider what you're being asked to do. Being offered a golden tax rebate or refund - and the caller wants your bank details so they can transfer the money? If you think it's too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. 

Report suspicious calls or texts to Action Fraud online or on 0300 123 2040.


Sextortion fraudsters were said to be targeting younger victims, holding people to ransom after receiving explicit photographs or messages from them online. Police had seen a rise in scare tactics, Det Sgt Magrath told the Adver. 

The consequences could be horrific, the seasoned detective said, citing the case of Scot Daniel Perry who took his own life in 2013 after falling prey to a sextortion scam.

“People are at home at the moment, they’re a little bit bored, they’re a little bit naïve at times and they get themselves into a situation and all of a sudden get carried away and people maybe do something a little bit silly or something they regret. 

“To then have that thrown in your face to the point where, like that young lad, people do take their own lives. That’s a real life consequence of the sextortion that’s done and, often, it can be someone sat in a sweat shop on the far side of the world who’s just churning this stuff out. 

“They’ve got no thought, they don’t really give a stuff about the individual at the end of the line who’s going to be faced with the reality of embarrassment amongst friends in the workplace. 

“They’re just worried about the few pounds that make it through their bank accounts. It’s horrendous.”

To report cyber crime, call Wiltshire Police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.