Computer Software Scams

7 January 2022

3 min read

What are computer software scams?

Software scams typically involve criminals posing as representatives from authoritative and trusted organisations. They will use a range of methods to contact you, typically they will obtain your contact details via an initial fake text or email and then follow it up with a phone call.

Once they’ve made contact with you, they’ll usually try to persuade you to act. Often with claims that there has been suspicious activity, a security compromise or that you are due a refund of some sort.

When criminals pose as these representatives they may also try to coerce you in to downloading an app or software on to your mobile or computer to allow them to access your device. During the conversation, they’ll try to trick you and ask you to log in to your online bank account and emails.

Once the software has been downloaded, it allows the criminals to take over your device. They can present screens to stop you from seeing what they are doing on your device, so if you have logged in to your online bank account or emails, they will have full access and control. They can then attempt to make payments from your accounts without you realising and stop any messages or contact attempts from us to warn you of suspicious activity.

Examples of software scam tactics

We’ve seen that criminals often pose as representatives from well-known organisations and companies. To get a better idea of what that may look like, we’ve included a few examples of the tactics they may use below;

  • The Police or Fraud Department – The scammers may tell you there is fraud on your account and that you need to move your money to keep it safe. They may even say the need your help with an investigation, but not to tell us, as it could be an internal issue.
  • HMRC – Scammers will call or text and claim to be from HMRC. They may try to put you under pressure by telling you to pay an urgent tax bill or face prosecution.
  • Broadband and telecommunication companies – Scammers may contact you and claim that there are problems with your broadband or that your internet is compromised.
  • Amazon - Scammers will pose as Amazon to discuss a refund or to tell you that fraudulent purchases such as an iPhone have been made from your account.  They will offer to help guide you through cancelling the orders or assisting with a refund.

Be vigilant to any 'out of the blue' contact, either by text message or from a telephone call

If somebody calls you, no matter who they say they are, it’s important that you never agree to download an app or software on to your laptop, computer or mobile device. Especially if they then ask you to log in to your online banking accounts.

Remember - Never tell ANYONE your online banking verification codes or password, or your memorable number, not even us!

Important - If we suspect a fraudulent payment may be about to leave your account, we may text you to ask you to confirm if it is genuine or not first before the payment can be made.  In a computer software scam, the criminal may have tried to move money from your account and they may tell you to ignore our security message and to just reply ‘yes’. If you are told to do this by someone over the phone, it’s a scam!  You will be authorising the criminal to steal your money.


How to protect yourself - remember these key tips:

The scammers are criminals and those affected are victims. It’s important that we do what we can to help protect ourselves and those around us. Help us fight fraudsters and scams by keeping the below fresh in your mind.

  • Be vigilant – if you’re unsure if a text message or phone call from us is genuine. Stop! Don’t panic, and contact us using the number on the back of your card, ideally using another telephone as the caller could try to stay on the line.
  • You can also contact a genuine company by using a trusted number from their website.
  • Neither the Bank nor the Police will ever contact you and ask you to move your money to another account to keep it safe. Neither will we ask you to help us with a fraud investigation, or to hand over your cards or cash to anyone.
  • HMRC will never text or call you and threaten you to pay a tax bill or face prosecution.
  • You will never be contacted by anyone and asked to log in to your online bank account to check that you have received a refund or to request that you return an overpayment.

Find out more about common fraud threats and how to avoid them.

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