Please see below details of all the current scams that have been reported:-
Computer Support scam - cold-calls or pop-up messages on your screen stating they have detected a problem with your computer, phone line or broadband service.
They use various different names to identify themselves (such as Microsoft Windows Support, Windows Technical Department, Windows Helpdesk, Microsoft Tech Support or Windows Service Centre) and usually say that they are working on behalf of Microsoft or companies such as BT, Openreach or TalkTalk.
The fake pop-up message often appear to look like some sort of warning or alert message indicating you have a problem with your computer - they often appear down the bottom right corner of your screen to make them appear just like a standard alert from Windows 10 or your security software - occasionally they fill the whole screen, and in several instances have an audible warning message which keeps repeating. The pop-up message asks you to call a phone number to receive free support, once you call this number you are often connected to an expensive premium rate number.
They then try to fool you into thinking you have a security problem with your computer by guiding you through logs on your computer such as Event Viewer and trying to tell you that the errors and warnings that appear means your computer is unprotected or has a serious problem that needs fixing. What they tell you is incorrect, even a fully working computer has some errors and warnings shown here and this is quite normal and does NOT indicate you have a problem Or they tell you that you have a problem with some specific software on your computer, that Microsoft is going to cancel your license, or that your IP address is compromised and has been used in a different country.
With nearly all the variations of the scam they then ask to connect to your computer saying they will fix the problems for you - at this point they can access any personal information you have on your computer such as bank details, infect your system with viruses and lock your system so you cannot gain access - they then demand money to unlock your computer and to fix the problems.
In some instances threatening and aggressive language has been used against victims, as part of the attempt to coerce them into sending money.
I have also had several customers that were previously targeted being contacted again requesting that they pay money owed for a fake malware protection service they had provided, or asking for a new subscription fee in return for protection from a new threat.
NEVER let anyone connect remotely to your computer if you don’t know who they are, and
NEVER give out personal details such as bank/card numbers, usernames or passwords.
Refund scam – calls purporting to be from various different companies such as BT, TalkTalk or Amazon stating that due to unreliable service you have received or other reasons that you are due a refund. They then ask for bank details so they can make a payment to you (which they never make!). Next they state they have 'accidently' paid you too much and ask you to transfer the difference back to their account.
Fraudulent / spoof websites – be very careful when searching for a specific company on the internet that the website link you click on is actually who you think it is. I have had several instances lately of customers looking for support for a TomTom or Garmin GPS product, and when searching on Google have gone to the first website which comes up in the results which turns out to not be genuine and is basically a spoof site trying to entice people in, they then ask to connect to computer to help and want to charge a fortune for fixing problems which don’t actually exist, and whilst connected have full access to all your files/data!
Amazon telephone scam – calls purporting to be from Amazon, saying there has been a problem with a recent order you placed, and that money may have been fraudulently taken from your card / account, and that to investigate further and arrange a refund they need to check your computer. This is a SCAM. NEVER let anyone connect remotely to your computer if you don’t know who they are, and NEVER give out personal details such as bank/card numbers, usernames or passwords.
Emails from HMRC - indicating you are due a tax refund or have an overdue payment – these emails ask you to click a link in the email to proceed – NEVER click links in any emails if you are not 100% certain they are genuine.
Emails that appear to be from a friend or family member - asking you to purchase iTunes gift cards for them and stating they will then reimburse you – this is a SCAM that has been running for several years now and often pops up again around this time each year. Just because an email initially appears to be from someone you know does not mean it is genuine, it is very easy to spoof the sending address of an email, so do not click links, reply or follow instructions in emails unless you have spoken to the sender first to confirm its authenticity.
An email stating you have been visiting “adult” websites - and that they have recorded your activity, and that unless you make a payment to them (usually by BitCoin) they will expose your details and a recording of you watching “adult” material to all your contacts. These emails often state they know some of your passwords and sometimes include a password they say you used recently, usually the details shown are wrong, but in some cases the password is one you may have used years ago and they have got hold of it from one of the many companies that has been hacked in recent months/years (e.g. LinkedIn, Adobe, Amazon, Dell, Marriott International etc etc). NEVER make payments to these scammers, and if the password they show is one you have used then make sure to change the password at any websites where you still use it to something completely different.
Telephone calls from various companies - such as Trading Standards or HRMC saying you have made an over payment to a company and asking for your bank details so they can process a refund – NEVER ever give out your bank or card details to someone who cold calls you.
Phone calls pretending to be from your phone/broadband provider or National Cyber Crime Unit telling you that your broadband will be cut off within 24 hours due to suspicious activity - again these scams are trying to gain access to your computer or to obtain personal/financial information from you.
Emails that appear to be from someone you know but just contain one line of text which doesn't make sense along with a link to a website - firstly DO NOT click the link and simply delete the email - it is not really from the person it pretends to be from - and the link will take you to a fake website.
Text messages or emails from PayPal saying you have made a payment - these are very common and are designed to get information from you, the link or attachment usually takes you to a fake website designed to look like PayPal to try and get your login details or financial information.
Texts and Emails purporting to be about your TV licence which are designed to attempt to steal personal and financial information - as with usual advice DO NOT click any links in emails like this, as the pages they take you to may look genuine but are not.
Parcel scam - text messages purporting to be from delivery companies such as DPD or Royal Mail asking you to pay a fee before the will deliver your parcel. These are nearly always a scam, if you are expectign a parcel then contact the sender to verify before making any payments!
If you are unsure that an email you have received is genuine or not then please feel free to forward it on to me and I will check for you and advise further. The same goes with phone calls, if you get a strange call then hang up, email me full details and I will let you know if it is a known scam or not.
24 June 2021: Windows 11
Yes, you read that correctly, despite years of Microsoft telling consumers and partners like myself that they would not release a new version of Windows, and that Windows 10 would continue to evolve and be updated twice a year they have now changed their minds....
Windows 11 will be coming later this year.
I have created a section on my website
here which will evolve over the coming days/weeks as more details are released.
24 June 2021: Newsletter
The Summer 2021 edition of the PC Assist Newsletter is now available - click
here to view.
7 June 2021: Windows 10 May 2021 (21H1) Update - Safe To Install
From my testing all the initial issues with the latest update have now been resolved, and I have successfully installed it on multiple computers without any issues, therefore in my opinion it is now safe to proceed with this update if you get prompted to install it.
5 April 2021: Windows 10 May 2021 (21H1) Update
The next 'build' update to Windows 10 called "May 2021 Update (21H1)" was released on the 18th May 2021.
This update is free for all Windows 10 users and will automatically download and install – it is being released in waves so not everyone will receive it immediately but you will eventually get it in the days/weeks/months after release.
An overview of the changes in this version can be found on my website
N.B. For the first few weeks it will be an 'optional' update which you can choose to install via Windows Settings, after a short testing period it will then start to install automatically on all devices.
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