Many Icelanders Receive Phone Scam Calls

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Many Icelanders Receive Phone Scam Calls

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Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Recently many Icelanders have been contacted by individuals calling from abroad and claiming to be working for Microsoft. They claim to be calling to warn their customers of a virus, and direct them to a website where they can download an anti-virus program.

The anti-virus program is in a fact a virus itself, and one that allows the callers access to computers it’s installed on. They are then able to acquire credit card information, access online banking, as well as monitor the online behavior of the computer’s owner, gaining information they can sell to dishonest marketing companies.

There are examples of people who have lost large amounts of money in scams such as this but no statistics exist on how many people in Iceland have been contacted or tricked into participating, ruv.is reports. 

Anyone who recognizes this story as their own should get their computers checked out by a professional immediately, even if nothing seems off and it’s working as normal.

Back in April, the Metropolitan Police warned people of phone scams on their Facebook page. They had heard from several people who reported receiving phone calls, often in the middle of the night, from a foreign number. When they answered the phone, no one was on the other end of the line. The police stressed the importance of not calling back, as that would redirect the caller to a service number which would charge the caller large amounts of money to their phone bill. 

A similar warning was issued by the police last November when large swaths of text messages asking the recipient to “call me back pls” and “call me plz urgently” were sent to Icelandic numbers. The numbers sending these texts had the country codes 212 and 88, which are the codes for Morocco and for all satellite phones, respectively. The police warned people not to call back unless they were expecting a call from either Morocco or a satellite phone. 

The service provider Vodafone states on their website that phone calls of this sort cannot be blocked, as they are not coming from a single number but rather several, possibly multiply re-routed sources.

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