Police are warning Eastbourne residents to be cautious of cold callers pretending to be from BT.
Officers have received reports of fraudulent BT calls telling householders that their IP address has been hacked and accounts need to be urgently updated with new security software and passwords. However, the services offered would place personal bank information in the hands of criminals.
PC Ed Faulkner said, “In the last few days we have had reports from two residents at Sovereign Harbour that they have been contacted via their landline from someone claiming to be from BT, stating that their computer has been hacked and they need to urgently follow their instructions to prevent them being hacked further. This is a scam. BT do not provide this service, and they would not be calling people asking them to log into certain websites including banks.
"One of the residents a woman in her seventies, spent some time on the phone with the scammers and lost £5,800. Thankfully her bank stopped a further payment of £4,100. She has had to change all her bank information.
"The other resident, a man in his seventies, put the phone down realising it was a scam, and confirmed it with BT.
"We have also had a call yesterday (5 December) from another resident elsewhere in Eastbourne reporting just such an attempt, which was unsuccessful.
"The scammers ask residents to install a special programme on their computer which allegedly allows them to view what you are seeing on your screen. BT do not do this. If you receive such a call the best thing you can do is hang up immediately. Do not install any programmes on to your computer, tablet or phone, and do not provide any passwords or bank details to them.
"If in doubt you can call BT direct to query whether it is them that has called, but please call their general enquiries number of 0800 800 150. Do not call the number that the potential scammer gives you. Or alternatively call us on 101 and we will happily provide advice. Scams are becoming more sophisticated, and scammers are increasingly using fear as a tool to try to get money from you. Genuine companies are always willing to wait while you confirm they are who they say they are.”
If you or someone you know is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud or an attempt at fraud, call Sussex Police on 101.
If you need to a report fraud or attempted fraud, you can do so by contacting Action Fraud here or by calling 0300 123 2040.