CON ARTIST AT WORK

Gardai in Inishowen have urged extreme caution as a number of people in the area have been targeted by a con artist claiming to work for a leading computer company.

The calls come as a number of people have complained they receive unrequested phone calls from a man claiming he is working with the firm to fix a virus on their computer.

The hacker then tells people to go to their computer and follow his instructions, allowing him to then gain control of their mouse, and most importantly private financial information stored on their PC.

Inspector David Murphy said there had been complaints to the gardai about the identity crime, and said the gardai were currently investigating the incident.

“At the minute the most important thing is for people to be extremely cautious when speaking to people like this on the phone and when divulging their private, and especially financial information.”

The senior Buncrana garda said there was specific security instructions people in this position should follow and if any one was not satisfied with their safety procedure they shouldn’t hesitate to end the call.

“I think a lot people who have had these calls have realised they are being conned and hung up early into the conversation.

“But if anyone becomes suspicious about a particular call they should not hesitate to terminate the call immediately and report the incident to the local Gardai station.”

It is not known at this stage whether or not the alleged assailant has managed to steal from any local people in his attempts to hack into their personal computers.

One concerned victim in the Moville area was horrified to find out what had happened when she received the call.

“I was really worried when I got the call. I went along with what he was saying because I felt I had no reason to doubt what he was saying however when he gained control of my computer I became alarmed and hung up. It’s frightening to think of how easily it can be done.”

An Inishowen based computer engineer told the ‘Journal’ the computer company would never phone individuals to inform them about a virus and people must be careful when speaking to anyone posing to be from a company such as this.

“People should never voluntarily give people access to your computer over the phone if they have contacted you.”

Victims of this crime are urged to contact their banks immediately.