Apparently unscrupulous individuals are now too lazy to speak to you themselves, as the latest tech support scam going around is led by a robot. It doesn't say much for the future of fake call centres if their jobs are being outsourced to AI, but the robot is just there to draw you in.
The automated call will claim to be from your 'internet provider' and claim that your IP address and router have been compromised. It will then note that they're able to replace these free of charge, and to press 1 to continue. You'll then be connected with a real person, who (we assume) will eventually con their way onto your computer.
It's a clever move from these scammers, as the only calls they're receiving are from people who have already been taken in by the lie. It's worth noting that it is incredibly rare that an Internet Service Provider would contact you with no prior warning. If for some reason they did contact you like this, we suspect that they would hook you up with a customer service representative immediately rather than having you go through Wall-E.
As with the majority of scams, this one rests on the hope that you'll start to panic - and then follow the instructions that you're being fed. To suddenly be told that your computer is laden with malware is frightening, and it's supposed to be. When you're agitated or anxious, you're far more likely to swallow the 'tech support' lies you're being told. When you get one of these cold calls, keep the following tips in mind.
Ask to ring the caller back
Obviously if you're encountering this robot scam, you're not going to have a real person to ask - but in that case you should hang up the phone. Find the number for your Internet Service Provider online, make sure the previous call has been disconnected and then ring them directly to confirm what the cold call has said.
Do not ring back the same number, and make sure that the person and/or robot you were speaking to has vacated the line before you contact your Internet Service Provider directly.
Ask for the company by name
When someone calls you claiming to be your Internet Service Provider, they should be able to answer any and all questions you have. Who your Internet Service Provider is, for example.
Whenever you're answering a cold call, be critical. A real representative from your service provider will be able to answer all your questions, and certainly won't mind when you ask to call back. A scammer will be less accommodating.
Go straight to a search engine
If the information they're sending you does sound legitimate, pop it in a search bar with the word, 'scam' after it and see what it throws back up. These types of hoax calls are widespread - you won't be the first person they've tried something on, and the likelihood is people will have taken to the internet to report the calls.
Do not go to any of the websites you're being instructed to visit by the person on the other end of the phone. Chances are they're filled with malware.
If you've received a call, report it
Once you've found that a call is a hoax, block the number. You can then head to Action Fraud to report the spam call. You don't need to have lost money to one of these scams to report it - and the more information that Action Fraud have, the more likely they'll be able to act on it.
If you're worried about about a phone call from someone claiming to be your Internet Service Provider, contact Transcendit at 0191 482 0444