National Trading Standards is warning consumers about a new scam targeting those looking for help with printer problems. The warning comes after a rise in the number of cases seen by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team. The ‘printer helpline scam’ differs from most scams as it sees consumers contacting the criminals directly, after seeing fake ‘helpline’ numbers in online adverts placed on search engines or social media. Cases seen by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team have involved those behind the ‘helplines’ gaining remote access to people’s computers – under the auspices of helping them to resolve their technical problems – only for them to use this to steal personal information including bank account details and infect computers with malware.
One particular group behind these scams – which claims to be affiliated with a wide range of technology brands and printer manufacturers – holds victims to ransom by taking control of their computers before demanding payment to return control. Action Fraud said cases of computer service fraud, including the printer scam, had risen by 47% since 2014, to a total of 32,719 incidents last year.
Further information is available on the NTS web site