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Phishers posing as computer security experts are targeting individuals and businesses to steal money and install malicious software on their computers.
In a survey of 7,000 people, 15 per cent across the UK, US, Ireland and Canada reported receiving a call from scammers, Microsoft said on Thursday. Of these, 22 per cent had been deceived by the phishers and so lost money.
"The scam works by criminals posing as computer security engineers and calling people at home to tell them they are at risk of a computer security threat," Microsoft said. "The scammers tell their victims they are providing free security checks and add authenticity by claiming to represent legitimate companies and using telephone directories to refer to their victims by name."