Police are issuing a warning to the public following after 40 computer scams across the county have taken place since the start of June.
In the scam, a person rings the victim and states they are from a computer company such as Microsoft. The offenders have been using a number of different tactics in an effort to steal money from victims.
Some calls see the offenders explain that there is a problem with the victim’s computer, for example that it has a virus, and go on to say they can fix the problem for a fee.
In other instances the offenders persuade the victims to grant them remote access to their computers. This is where a person can control the computer from anywhere in the world, allowing them access to personal files and data, including bank account details. It also allows them to place viruses on the machine, which they then charge the victim to remove and can cause irreversible damage.
In nine instances reported the the police people have lost money to the offenders.
Detective Inspector Danny Lawrence, who leads the ERSOU Cyber Crime Unit, said: "Whilst it is of concern that this type of scam has been successful in a number of cases, most people are recognising the call for what it is and we have been working with Microsoft’s security team and Action Fraud in order to tackle this scam.
"As can be seen, it isn’t a particular group of people targeted by the offenders: people of all ages have been contacted and it is possible a large number of people have not reported being called, so I would urge people to remember and share the following advice:
"Computer firms, like Microsoft, do not make unsolicited phone calls and do not send unsolicited emails, requesting personal or financial information or offering to fix people’s computers.
"All unexpected calls and emails should be treated with suspicion and if you receive such correspondence you should hang up or delete the email. Never reveal your personal or financial details in these circumstances. Never allow anyone to remotely access your computer as they could access your personal data and files and cause damage to your machine.
"If you do need to contact the company for assistance or assurance, remember to contact them directly by using the details found on your contract or another trusted source."
Anyone who believes they may have been targeted by this scam or has information in relation to these incidents can telephone Hertfordshire Constabulary via the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively you can report the scam to Action Fraud: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud