POLICE are continuing to warn residents to be vigilant after an elderly woman from Dorchester was scammed out of more than £700 by fraudsters.

Officers say conmen are claiming to be computer technicians associated with well-known companies like Microsoft.

They say that they’ve detected viruses or other malware on the computer to trick victims into giving them remote access or paying for software they don’t need.

A spokesman from Dorchester Police said: “These scammers take advantage of your reasonable concerns about viruses and other threats.

“They know that computer users have heard time and again that it’s important to install security software.

“But the purpose behind their elaborate scheme isn’t to protect your computer; it’s to make money.

“Do not give your personal details such as your bank account and pin in any circumstances.”

A number of people from across the area have fallen victim to scams in recent months.

In April, the Echo reported how a man in his 80s from the Chapelhay area of Weymouth was conned out of £26,000 and an elderly couple from Westham had £12,000 stolen.

Weymouth resident Eric Norris, 75, pictured inset, who warned over a computer-locking scam earlier this month, said: “Scams are quite common. I would say if it’s an email, look at the way it’s written.

“Sometimes the language or the way things are worded isn’t quite right or in broken English.

“If it is saying it’s from the police, look at the logo and the name.

“Never be fooled in to paying out money.”

Police are also warning residents of Weymouth and Portland over a fake lottery letter which is part of a scam.

Letters from Madrid claiming to be from Loteria Primitiva, the National Lottery of Spain, are being received locally.

A spokesman for Action Fraud said: “From bogus ‘Computer Software Tech Support’ phone calls, for example, someone from Microsoft or Apple contacting you and telling you there is a problem with your device, to fraudsters asking for credit card information to ‘validate your software’, there are a number of computer software service scams you need to look out for.

“Fraudsters often use the names of well-known companies to commit their crime, as it makes their communication with you seem more legitimate.

“This is why it’s important to think twice before giving out any personal information.

“Computer firms warn that they do not send unsolicited emails or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information, or to fix your computer.

“They advise anyone who receives such communication to delete the email or hang up the phone. “If further assurance is needed individuals can contact the firm directly using the phone numbers obtained from their contract or other trusted sources.”

Action Fraud warns that common scams that use the brand names include:

  • Receiving a phone call from ‘Microsoft Tech Support’ to fix your computer.
  • Receiving unsolicited emails with attached security updates.
  • Being asked for your credit card information to ‘validate your copy of Windows’.
  • Being told you have won the ‘Microsoft Lottery’.