Microsoft support scammer sent down — first ever successful prosecution in the UK
We’ve all had those phone calls — some of us have had many of them — from Microsoft certified support engineers offering to fix our PCs over the phone. They can be very compelling.
“Your PC is running slow. I can fix it for you over the phone.”
“No fee. You can just pay me what you think it’s worth — maybe £30 — when it’s done. If I don’t improve things, you don’t need to pay anything.”
It’s a good bet. Who hasn’t got a PC that is running slower than it did when we bought it?
What happens next might vary. The scammer will talk you through a few things to gain your confidence. Then he will come a cross a problem too difficult to handle through conversation — but having gained your confidence, where is the problem in letting him fix it for you remotely? All you have to do is install this bit of software, which he’ll talk you through, and he’ll be able to fix it immediately — and even provide a very cheap anti-virus program to improve your security.
Suddenly, that £30 has become £80. He’s fixed nothing and sold you free software — and possibly left something nasty on your computer. Well, the e-crime team from Trading Standards has now successfully prosecuted one of these scammers: Mr Mohammed Khalid Jamil, was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and fined £5000. Jamil was also ordered to pay £5665 in compensation to his victims and £13929 in prosecution costs.
Lord Toby Harris, chairman of the National Trading Standards Board, commented, “This is a landmark case, as we believe it may be the first ever successful prosecution of someone involved in the Microsoft scam in the UK. It’s an important turning point for UK consumers who have been plagued by this scam, or variants of it, for several years. Many have succumbed to it, parting with significant sums of money, their computers have been compromised and their personal details have been put at risk. Now that one of the many individuals who’ve been operating this scam has been brought to justice, it’s a stark warning to anyone else still doing it, that they can be caught and will be prosecuted.”