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Trading Standards issues alert
Trading standards have warned people to be on their guard against computer hackers after potentially hundreds of people in the district were targeted in the last 18 months.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service said over the last few weeks officers had received a stream of complaints involving suspicious calls from overseas phone numbers from an unidentified source.
Officers said unsuspecting people were being conned by callers claiming to be from an online software or internet provider that had identified a problem with their computer or internet connection. A scammer then attempts to obtain users’ account details in order to perform software upgrades.
Trading standards said the intention was to gain access to secure information including bank details which would normally be protected.
WYTS chief officer Graham Hebblethwaite said the service had received 20 reports of such scams from the Bradford district in the last 18 months, but warned the actual number of those contacted could go into the hundreds.
He said: “Although the vast majority of people will see this type of scam for exactly what it is, some may well be panicked into believing their computer has picked up a serious computer virus which needs urgent attention.
“The scammers work on the basis that they may have to contact many people to find just one victim, but often when they do their unscrupulous efforts pay off.”
Bradford councillor Val Slater, chairman of the trading standards committee, said: “I would urge people to share this information with friends and relatives, particularly vulnerable or older members of the community who may not have heard about this type of scam.
“It is known that scammers will often target their victims and in this instance take advantage of those who may only have a limited understanding of new technology.”
Councillor Neil Taggart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the work of trading standards, said: “It is known that scammers will often target their victims and in this instance take advantage of those who may only have a limited understanding of new technology.”
Anyone who feels they may have fallen victim to a scam can contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, on 0300 123 2040, or trading standards by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0845 404 0506.