Scammers seek computer control

Marlburians are among the people targeted in an elaborate plan to take control of computers, and probably internet banking details, a Blenheim computer technician says.

PC Media director Lee Harper said six people had brought their computers into his shop to check for problems during the past week.

They told him a person with an Indian accent had cold-called them to say there was something wrong with their computer and asked them to install a program called Let Me In, he said.

The program would allow the scammer to remotely control the computer and do what they like, he said. They could then transfer viruses and malware on to the computer or get internet banking user names and passwords.

The caller said he was from Greybytes Cyber Tech, and gave an Auckland phone number which rang but was never answered, he said.

"No internet provider would ring you up to say there's a problem with your computer," Mr Harper said.

No-one he had spoken to had fallen for the scam, but they had taken their machines to him to confirm there was no fault.

"They are not suspicious for a while and it's a little worrying. If half a dozen are getting close [to loading the software], some people must be falling for it."

The Internal Affairs Ministry anti-spam compliance unit warned about the scam early last month after people in Christchurch and Dunedin were targeted.

Senior investigator Toni Demetriou said the calls were being made from outside New Zealand.

"The caller can be quite convincing. On one occasion he handed the conversation across to a supervisor in an attempt to make the call sound more professional and convincing."

The caller gives out a six-digit code to log in to a website, Mr Demetriou said.

"Essentially what then happens is that the person is handing over control of their computer to the person they are talking with. If you follow the instructions you will be allowing and authorising remote access to your computer. Just about anything could happen."

The Marlborough Express