There has been an increase in the number of reports from Scottish consumers who have been contacted by scammers claiming to be calling from Virgin Media and other internet service providers. These scammers often request access to be granted to the devices that their targets own, including laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.
Access is usually obtained through the downloading of an app or granting access through a link that is sent by the scammer in an email. Very often, the target is unaware that they are being scammed until it is too late.
Once the access is granted, the scammer can then access personal information or use further tactics to gain access to bank accounts and transfer sums of money.
So, what should I do if I think I have been scammed?
You should contact the fraud team at your bank and advise them that you have been the target of a scam. Several UK banking institutions have signed up to a voluntary code that sets out standards for the treatment of the targets of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud.
This protects consumers when they unwittingly transfer money to scammers from their bank account. This voluntary code has the fundamental principle that victims of bank transfer scams are blameless and should be fully reimbursed. You should discuss the issue with your bank and see what they can do to help you in this instance.
If the bank is unwilling to help, you can look at making a complaint to them in relation to this to formalise your communication. This should be done in writing, and you should allow the bank an adequate amount of time to investigate the complaint and respond to you.
The bank can’t help – what can I do?
If the bank does not resolve the issue to your satisfaction within a reasonable timescale, you can then escalate the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
More information on escalating a complaint to the Ombudsman Service can be found by visiting www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
Contact the police and your service provider – this is a crime!
Additionally, you should get in contact with the police in relation to this, as this is a criminal act. The police will take your complaint seriously, and handle your situation with discretion.
You should also contact your internet service provider about the matter to ensure there are no further attempts to access your devices, and to seek advice on security measures that you can put in place moving forward. They may be able to offer software that can help.
How do these scammers operate?
Scammers contact consumers by various methods, including telephone, email, SMS and even showing up at the front door. It is important to ensure that anyone you are communicating with is who they say they are.
You can do this by getting in contact with the company or organisation that they claim to be visiting / calling from to check, using their official contact details. This information can usually be found on the company or organisation’s website, or through searching in directories.
Scammers can seem legitimate by copying the branding of the official party they claim to be calling from. This can be done in several ways, including the cloning of websites, and ‘number spoofing’ – using technology to appear legitimate.
I hope this helps and you get the issue resolved!