Computer software suspects arrested

people suspected of being involved in computer software fraud have been
arrested. Trading standards officers and police officers executed entry
warrants at the homes of a 64 year old man and a 34 year old woman in
Birmingham, and a 35 year old man in Swindon. They have been interviewed and
released pending further investigation. A 65 year old woman from Tamworth
agreed to be interviewed by trading standards officers without the need for
arrest. A further suspect remains at large.

operation was led by officers of the National Trading Standards eCrime Team
supported by officers from West Midlands, Staffordshire and Wiltshire police

alleged scam involves victims being told on the phone or on a pop up ‘on
screen’ message that they have problems with their computers. They are
persuaded that the fictitious problem can be fixed for a fee and are usually
tricked into giving remote access to their computers. This allows the fraudster
to introduce viruses and malware permitting their personal data to be accessed.

Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:

someone you don’t know asks for remote access to your computer or other
devices, it should set alarm bells ringing. If you think you have been targeted
by a computer fraudster or know anyone who has been affected, report it to
Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.”

Jonathan Frost of the City
of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said: 

software service fraud is an increasing problem with more than 20,000 instances
reported to Action Fraud last year*. If you receive an unexpected call from
anyone suggesting that there is a problem with your computer, then you should
simply hang up. Criminals often claim that computers have been infected with
malware, viruses, they may also offer you a refund in connection with your
internet service or suggest that your bank account is being targeted by cyber

“If in
doubt hang up and call the organisation in question using a number you have
obtained via a reliable source. If you believe you have fallen victim to a
fraud like this, please report it to Action Fraud either online or by phone on
0300 123 2040.”

Bakhtiar, CELA Senior Attorney at Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, said:

“Criminals are always seeking new and increasingly clever ways to deceive
people and steal their money.  We’d like
to reassure everyone that Microsoft will never cold call you out of the blue to
offer tech support or send you pop ups on your computer asking you to call a
number.  If you do need help, then get in
touch with us directly at”

Andrews the lead co-ordinator for the National Trading Standards eCrime Team,

began investigating this group after they came to the attention of the National
Fraud Intelligence Bureau in late 2018. This is a good example of National
Trading Standards, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, the police and
several companies including Microsoft, Epson, BT, Brother, and Hewlett Packard,
working together.”