There can be very few of us who have not been rung with the caller saying they’ve noticed your computer has a virus. They give you directions on where to look on your computer, and then helpfully suggest that you download some software and sign up to a service that is meant to keep your computer safe.
And of course there is no virus, but you’ve lost your money and your computer may have been hacked.
To protect yourself from computer virus scams, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has some advice:
If someone calls you to say your computer has a virus, simply hang up the phone – even though your mother always told you that was rude.
If the caller becomes aggressive or unpleasant, don’t talk back, just hang up the phone.
As a result of the scam, if you’ve already downloaded some software, immediately unplug your computer from the internet.
You should also run spyware and antivirus programs and change all your passwords, using a different computer. If in doubt, take your computer to a technician to be ‘cleaned’. And don’t use it in the meantime.
If you’ve signed up to a service contract which you believe to be a scam, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately. You may be able to get a chargeback.