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Winter Blues

Don't Catch a Computer Virus

We all know that winter is the time of viruses, but it seems the worst of these is currently targeting computers, not people. We are warned to beware of a new kind of scam. Organised gangs have devised a new way to target users and so a new way to rip them off – by terrifying them into thinking they are the victim of a computer virus.

This scam is different to some others because it invades our home or business in the time old tradition of cold-calling you! Criminal gangs have set up call centres, offering virus checks. If you fall for their sales patter they then talk you through uploading their software which, they say, searches for the viruses. In actual fact this software is designed to steal your personal information!

The software will sit on your computer and identify when you type in useful passwords and credit or debit card details, at which point it will then transmit these back to the criminals.

This scam was identified by the campaign group Get Safe Online. They warn everyone to be wary of online messages popping up to offer virus checks, which then install the same sort of dodgy software, so the criminals are trying a different tack.

It is estimated that one in three of us are victims of viruses – despite improvements in security. It is so easy to become a victim – and so terrifying when you do. The secret is not to panic if something pops up on your screen telling you that you have a virus and certainly DO NOT download anything from the pop-up offering you a solution.

Instead, make sure you have approved virus software installed on your computer, and keep it up to date. That way if anyone does approach you about virus software you know you already have it.

Remember that you must not trust pop-ups on line offering anti-viral software – and don't believe anyone who is cold-calling you to sell you this, even if they offer a free trial.

It seems these criminals will stop at nothing to steal identities. Be aware though that these 'identity thefts' do not happen only on home PCs. Many businesses have also been caught on the hop. Thinking that your whole system is about to crash would make many business owners take immediate action - and thus inadvertently install a malicious software system. Be careful and make sure your anti-virus is the best for your business and that it is bang up-to-date. Should the worst occur, you need to take the advice of your insurance company. Some business insurance will be able to help you, but you need professional advice. Westhill Insurance Services can offer sensible and realistic advice as to what you can and cannot, need or do not need in order to safeguard your business.

Don't catch a cold by not having the right business insurance. These viruses are extremely easy to catch - so a little advice might save your life!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 16th November, 2010