Fake 'fix your computer' calls aim at fleecing unwary, Gardaí warn

Fake 'fix your computer' calls aim at fleecing unwary, Gardaí warn


A phone scam in which fraudsters claim to be calling from Microsoft, or a telephone/mobile phone provider is ongoing, Gardaí have warned this week.

The scammers typically offer to “fix” your computer – but in reality will attempt to trick you into revealing your banking or card details

And the the gardaí have stressed, the scam can see innocent victims lose lots of money.

In a bid to spread the message of what to watch out for, An Garda Síochána in association with the FraudSMART, a fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), are advising consumers to be on the alert.

[Click the sound file to hear a fraudster trying to scam a Westmeath Examiner journalist recently].


What happens

A call comes from someone who claims to be from a utility company and tells you there appears to be a problem – perhaps a virus – affecting your computer or broadband service.

You may be asked to allow the caller to take remote control of your computer to "assist" you, however this could allow the fraudster to show you fraudulent screens.

The caller will attempt to trick you into revealing your banking or card details and providing codes from your card reader to access your online banking and make fraudulent payments.

The callers are professional and will be able to transfer you to their ‘supervisor’ should you request this,” says Detective Superintendent Gerard Walsh of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.

They sound genuine,” he says, before adding that if you receive a suspicious call, hang up and phone the company the person is purporting to be from directly yourself.



Do not use a number given to you by the caller and make sure you hear a dial tone before making the call.

If you are concerned that you may have fallen victim to a scam contact your local Garda Station and also your bank.”

Niamh Davenport, who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, offers the following advice to consumers: "Never give your financial or personal information in order to release money, refund fees, or access to your computer,” she cautions.

Fraudsters are very convincing but don’t be afraid to take the time to make the relevant checks. The caller will try to rush you or make you feel foolish and negligent if you don’t follow their instructions, but this is all designed to panic you into doing something you wouldn’t otherwise do.”

FraudSMART Advice:

Never give out personal information until you have checked that the caller is a genuine representative of the organisation they claim to be from. Advise the caller you will call them back once you have checked their identity. You can do this by:

Looking up the organisation’s phone number using a phone book or website and calling the number yourself directly. Make sure you hear a dial tone before you dial. Do not use a number the caller has given to you as this could be a fake number.

Don’t assume you can trust caller ID. Fraudsters can spoof a number, so it looks like they are calling from a particular company or bank, even when they are not.


Remember it takes two people to terminate a landline phone call, you can use a different phone line to independently check the caller’s identity or at least make sure you hear a dial tone before you call anyone.

Fraudsters may have basic information about you in their possession (e.g. name, address etc), do not assume the caller is genuine because they have this information. They source this information from publicly available information e.g. social media, phone books, websites

Don’t allow yourself to be rushed. Take your time and do the relevant checks.


Further advice/information

www.garda.iefor crime prevention advice and contact details of local Garda Stations

www.FraudSMART.iefor advice on fraud prevention

Notes to Editor:

A Garda spokesperson will be available for over the phone interviews between 2pm- 4pm today, 19th February 2019. To arrange a same please email pressoffice@garda.ie and include contact details


Vishing or Voice Phishing is the criminal practice of using social engineering techniques over the phone in order to obtain the personal, financial or security data from individuals. Social engineering can be described as human to human interaction which attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in human nature in an attempt to obtain personal information.


Smishing or SMS Phishing is a phishing attack whereby a mobile phone user receives an SMS (text) message which purports to have been sent from a genuine business or individual. This message attempts to induce the recipient to follow a link to a website which appears to be legitimate but in under the control of the criminal organisation. This website then requests personal and financial information to be inputted.


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