Scammers have been quick to find a way to financially benefit from the recent global ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack that has been targeting older computer operating systems and locking files until a ransom is paid.

What’s the scam?

Cold-callers are targeting New Zealanders by telling them they already have WannaCry ransomware on their computer, and offering to help them get rid of it for a fee. There have also been reports to the Government’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ) of scammers pretending to be from the Microsoft support team and calling people to install a ‘patch’ on their computer to protect them from being infected by the ransomware.

Who is being targeted?

Anyone with an older computer using the Windows operating system could be at risk from the scam.

What can I do to keep safe?

If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming you have been infected, or telling you they can provide software to prevent you from being infected, just hang up.

Remember:

  • Companies like Microsoft do not call individuals to sell software or services
  • Don’t trust services or products being offered ‘out of the blue’
  • If you believe it might be a legitimate call, hang up and Google the organisation, then call them back using the contact number given on their website.

 

Report cold-calling scammers

If you think you might have been targeted by cold-calling scammers, report the call to Netsafe (external link)