Lancashire County Council’s trading standards department has warned around 80 homes in the north of the county have received phone calls from someone claiming to have spotted a computer virus.
The caller claims to be from Microsoft and takes them through a variety of instructions before tricking them into giving their bank details.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs advises people to be wary of a phone scam in which people are tricked into giving strangers access to their home computers.
The ministry says it has received numerous reports from people who have had cold calls from companies claiming to be able to clear their computer of a virus.
It says those who have been a victim of the scam report that the companies get remote access to the computer, and convince them there are costly problems that need to be fixed.
Consumer Affairs says while there are some legitimate companies who specialise in fixing computers, people should always be wary of giving their PC details over the phone.
Queensland Police has warned of a surge in fake Microsoft phone scams targeting home computer users in the state.
The scam occurs via a phone call from a person claiming to represent a well-known computer company, commonly associated with Microsoft, who claims the victim’s computer is infected by a virus and offers a fix.
The victim is then directed to a website that enables the scammer to control the victim’s computer and cause fake problems to appear, which can be rectified for a fee, or with a software purchase.
Fraud and corporate crime group detective superintendent Brian Hay said attackers will also load malware or trojans onto the victim’s computer.
“This is all just a scam. Microsoft has confirmed they are not cold-calling members of the community regarding viruses, computer problems or any other issue,” Hay said.