News

Microsoft Cold Call Virus Scammer Jailed

If you haven’t had one of those stupid phone calls telling you your computer has a virus, I bet you’ve at least heard from a friend or relative that has. Personally, I have had a couple and they’re great fun for trolling them right back, so long as you understand that it is a scam in the first place.

The scam is that they cold call people and tell them they’ve found a virus on their computer, ask you to pay them money which in this case was between £35 and £150 to remove it. They would then give you access to software that would remove the virus. The scam here is two fold, not only does this give them a way to access your computer and payment details, but also the software they’re providing you is freely available from Microsoft.

Mohammed Khalid Jamil, 34, from Luton hired people in an Indian call centre to operate this scam. As the head of one of many similar scams Jamil was caught in the act and this week was sentenced, receiving a four month suspended jail sentence, ordered to pay a £5,000 fine, £5,665 compensation and £13,929 in prosecution costs.

“We believe it may be the first ever successful prosecution of someone involved in the Microsoft scam in the UK,” said Lord Harris, chairman of the National Trading Standards Board. “It’s an important turning point for UK consumers who have been plagued by this scam, or variants of it, for several years. Many have succumbed to it, parting with significant sums of money, their computers have been compromised and their personal details have been put at risk. Now that one of the many individuals who’ve been operating this scam has been brought to justice, it’s a stark warning to anyone else still doing it that they can be caught and will be prosecuted.”

Unfortunately we doubt this is the end of such scams, but hopefully it will shed light on the scam so that less people fall for it in the future.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Electricpig.

Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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