• Sweden's news in English
 

Swedes targeted in new 'Microsoft' phone scam

Patrick Reilly · 5 May 2014, 12:29

Published: 05 May 2014 12:29 GMT+02:00

"We are calling you from Microsoft's head office in London. Your computer has a serious virus and you need to open it immediately so we can fix it, otherwise it will crash," is the message many Swedes have been getting in recent weeks. 

Most hang up the phone, but there are many computer rookies, like retired people, who fall prey to the bluff.

"In Stockholm county alone we get about five to six calls a week from victims who have been scammed," Anders Olofsson, crime prevention officer with the Swedish fraud squad, told The Local.

The scammers, who typically speak English with a strong Indian accent, then attempt to access people's computers remotely to steal money from their bank accounts.

One victim, a 71-year old retired schoolteacher, told The Local how she was almost swindled out her pension fund by the fraudulent tactics.

She said that her phone rang at 8am one recent morning, and then she was tricked and bullied for several hours by the scammers.

"It felt like being raped," said the victim who who wished to remain anonymous.

"They said they were in an office in London and you could hear a lot of noise in the background. At first the girl was very patient with me, making me feel like the Queen, although her English wasn't great which surprised me."

She added that the woman on the phone told her to visit a website, enter some details about her computer and then click on a button.

At that point she claimed her computer screen went dark.

"The girl on the phone said 'I can see you with your webcam' and added that we could fix the computer together."

However, the scammer's patience wore thin when the elderly Swede wouldn't give her complete bank card number.

"She said 'I'm going to get my boss' who came on the phone and told me I was crazy, that I had to give them my card details or my computer would crash," said the victim.

Reluctantly, she did so but was suspicious and contacted a legal friend who told her to ring her bank immediately. Her bank told her that there had already been two attempts to take money from her account.

Anders Olofsson at the fraud squad said that polite old people regularly fell victim. 

"Old people are the most vulnerable as they don't want to be rude and will talk on the phone," he told The Local. "Sadly, this type of fraud has been around for years but although people are aware, there are some who slip under the radar," 

The new hacking scam recently featured on the Swedish crime show Efterlyst ("Wanted") where a number of victims came forward. In 2011 The Local reported on a similar fraud, where victims were tricked into giving their personal details to supposed Microsoft staff.

The software giant has always maintained that it would never call people and ask for money to fix a computer problem.

Indeed, the US company has said that greater awareness of the issue is vital to preventing future frauds.

"The most successful way to combat these scams is by making people aware of them," Per-Ragnar Johansson, an advocacy specialist with Microsoft in Sweden, told The Local in 2011.

Swedish police told The Local that when traces were ran on the money scams, they were tracked to Bombay and Calcutta, although a few were in the UK.

"We simply don't have the resources to track down every single fraud that is traced internationally. What we can do is try and prevent them and tell people to be extra careful," said Olofsson.

He added; "If somebody rings telling you that you have a problem with your computer and wants money - then just hang up." 

Patrick Reilly (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Iconic Swiss train heads to Swedish museum
The iconic Swiss locomotive. Photo: SBB

Iconic Swiss train heads to Swedish museum

20 minutes ago

Railway buffs in Sweden are on track for a treat as a rare Swiss locomotive is set to roll into a Swedish transport museum in the coming days to celebrate a century of electric trains in the Nordic country.

Plea for help in hunt for Swedish woman's killer
Ida Johansson, who was found dead on a running track in Upplands Väsby. Photo: Polisen

Plea for help in hunt for Swedish woman's killer

55 minutes ago

Swedish police released a picture of the 21-year-old jogger murdered in the running track almost a month ago as her mother was set to make a heartbreaking plea for witnesses to step forward.

The Local List
Seven bizarre Swedish academic traditions
Student life in Lund, southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX

Seven bizarre Swedish academic traditions

1 hour ago

As thousands of students flock to Sweden's university towns for the start of the semester, The Local guides you to the top seven academic traditions you need to know about.

Swede wakes up with Justin Bieber on buttock
The Swede says he can't remember how he ended up with Bieber's name on his backside. Photo: stamminen/Instagram

Swede wakes up with Justin Bieber on buttock

16 hours ago

A man in central Sweden has more reason than most to regret a drunken night out - after waking up with Justin Bieber's name on his backside.

Video of Swedish longboarder goes viral
Ishtar Tussilago taking a tight corner in the Norwegian mountains. Photo: Screengrab

Video of Swedish longboarder goes viral

15 hours ago

Stunning footage of Swedish longboarder Ishtar Bäcklund and fellow riders skating down the Norwegian mountains has gone viral, pulling in over 190,000 views on Vimeo.

Polish football hooligans sentenced in Sweden
The match between IFK Gothenburg and Slask Wroclaw on July 23rd. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Polish football hooligans sentenced in Sweden

16 hours ago

A Swedish court sentenced five Polish football fans to jail terms of two and three months on Tuesday after violence following a match between IFK Gothenburg and Slask Wroclaw.

'Lonely' billionaire: I was having a bad day
Markus Persson created the hit game Minecraft. Photo: TT

'Lonely' billionaire: I was having a bad day

18 hours ago

A Swedish gaming billionaire who made global headlines after complaining of loneliness, has apologized to people with "real problems".

Swedish party in U-turn on Nato membership
Centre Party leader Annie Lööf. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Swedish party in U-turn on Nato membership

20 hours ago

Sweden's opposition is moving towards a unified front on Nato membership after Centre party bosses announced they would advocate joining the defence alliance on Tuesday.

Swedish jogger praised for viral feminist post
Joakim Rosenqvist was inspired to write the post after bumping into a scared woman while out jogging. File photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Swedish jogger praised for viral feminist post

21 hours ago

A Swedish man has been praised for his viral Facebook post about female safety after meeting a terrified woman while out jogging.

Heavy rain warning for western parts of Sweden
Stockholmers carrying umbrellas this summer. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Heavy rain warning for western parts of Sweden

1 day ago

Jump into your boots and get the umbrella out. Forecasters issued a heavy rain warning on Tuesday as it looked like autumn was on its way to Sweden – just in time to welcome the start of September.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Gallery
Property of the week: Stuverum, Västervik
National
Swedish ship rescues 5,295 refugees
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: August 28th-30th
National
'Sweden Democrats will run the country'
Blog updates

28 August

Editor’s blog, August 28th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, It was all glitz and glamour in Sweden this week as Stockholm Fashion Week got..." READ »

 

18 August

Preteritum eller presens perfekt? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hello everyone, It’s grammar time ! I got an interesting question about the past tense vs present..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish bin men hailed as heroes after rescuing doomed kitten
National
This Swedish teen was told she was 'too big' to be a model
Sponsored Article
'It gives you the guts to believe in yourself'
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th
Sponsored Article
Nine places where Stockholm needs more English
National
Rescued baby lemur gets new Stockholm home
National
Stockholm Fashion Week turns island into Mars
Gallery
Property of the week: Stora Essingen, Stockholm
National
Swedish crayfish thieves caught red handed by officers
National
Veil soon to be lifted on new Millennium sequel novel
Gallery
People-watching: August 21st - 22nd
Cecilia Larsson Lantz/imagebank.sweden.se
Presented by Stockholm Academic Forum
International students welcomed to Stockholm
National
The Bridge: What does the third season have in store?
National
Lucky escape for Swedes after 'dead' bear launches attack
National
Syrian asylum seeker comic: 'We don't prefer Sweden any more'
Lifestyle
Baby joy for Swedish crime queen and her wrestler boyfriend
National
Soldier accused of faking first Isis attack in Sweden
National
Fire alert as Sweden sizzles in summer heatwave
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th
National
Meet the Swede who is crazy for Norway’s mass killer
National
Swede's review of night in drunk tank goes viral
National
VIDEO: Swedish teen melts hearts with this incredible Idol audition
Society
What's a Swedish crayfish party?
National
UN: Sweden can't be left to shoulder migrant crisis alone
Gallery
Property of the week: Skogås, Huddinge
National
Men outstrip women for first time
Society
IN PICTURES: Wooden town resembles 'war zone' after huge fire
Gallery
People-watching: August 14th-16th
Sport
Swedish referee shuts viral Facebook page explaining his decisions
Business & Money
A studio in Stockholm or a castle in the countryside?
National
How did twelve skeletons end up beneath a Swedish castle?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th
National
Millennium sequel author labelled 'grave robber'
National
Two metre long python stops traffic in Malmö
National
IN PICTURES: Shoppers pay tribute to Ikea stabbing victims
Technology
Danish 'monster' pulled out of Swedish waters
National
Bizarre baby baptism for hockey fan
Gallery
Property of the week: Löderup, Ystad
Sponsored Article
Getting pregnant the Swedish way
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,165
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se