The council’s trading standards service has been contacted by a number of folk in Shetland over the past few days who have received phone calls claiming that their computer has a problem with a virus.
Team leader David Marsh said the issue had been going on for some years, but there had been a recent rise in the number of people in touch about it.
Mr Marsh said: “The caller may sound very believable, but a reputable company will not call you to request personal or financial information or offer to fix your computer.
“The scam caller will know your name and address, most likely having got your details from the phone book. Usually they ask if you are having problems with your computer and say this is due to a virus. They offer to talk you through the fixes, but in actual fact you are giving them remote access to your computer – any ‘errors and warnings’ which they might show you are simply standard operating system logs. They will then charge for the ‘service’ they have just carried out.
“Don’t be afraid to put the phone down, and never give out your personal details to anyone who phones you out of the blue – and encourage your family, friends and neighbours to take the same approach to such callers.
“If you believe you have allowed someone access to your computer, change your passwords and report the incident to your bank and credit card company.”
Further information about scams and how to avoid them, along with general consumer advice, is always available at www.shetland.gov.uk/tradingstandards, by calling the Citizens Advice Bureau on (08454) 040506 or trading standards on (01595) 744887, or in person from the council’s Grantfield office.