CYBER scammers targeting personal information are now acting through phone calls rather than e-mail viruses.

A senior West Mercia detective is urging people to be extra vigilant after reports of a number of people being targeted by bogus telephone calls.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson said information from Worcestershire Regulatory Services indicated that local people had been receiving phone calls from a scam company claiming there was a fault with their computer.

The scammers have been telling residents that their computers are about to crash and requesting £200 to fix the fault.

If the fee is paid, the fraudsters then gain remote access to the victims’ computers and potentially to personal information, such as bank details and passwords.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services joint committee chairman Lucy Hodgson said relatives of hers had been targeted by a similar scam and knew how distressing it was.

“Residents should be aware that neither Micro-soft nor its partners make unsolicited calls to fix your computer. If you receive a cold call from a company claiming you have a fault on your computer, be on your guard and do not pay any fees.

“Consult a reputable local computer repair business if you feel there may be an issue.”

Consumers are advised to be wary of unsolicited calls related to computer faults or security problems – even if they claim to represent a respected company, never provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, do not go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who you do not know, take the caller’s details down and pass them on, make sure security updates are installed regularly on your computer, the firewall is turned on and that anti-virus software is installed and up to date, and if there are any concerns about the computer, ask a reputable expert to have a look.

For further information, or to report a call, contact Citizens Advice consu-mer service on 08454 040506 and Action Fraud on 0300 1232040 or visit