Anyone who gets a cold call from someone claiming to be from a large IT companies and offering help should hang up immediately.
Calls of this nature, often made in English with a heavy accent, are sadly nothing new, but are currently on the rise, according to police reports in Germany.
The goal is to trick you into sending money and sharing your data by using a made-up story about your PC being infected with viruses.
To gain your trust, the caller will often pretend to be working for Microsoft and ask if your PC has been slow recently - knowing that many users are already frustrated by the speed of their computer.
In return for payment, they offer help in removing the pretend malware. The perpetrators then use software and remote access to get onto the victim's computer.
There they then help themselves to sensitive login details such as online banking access and credit card information.
In such cases, it's always best to hang up the phone immediately and report the number to the police. Under no circumstances should you follow the callers' requests, download any software or give out any data.
The fraudsters often pretend to be employees of Microsoft, but this company does not carry out unsolicited calls to repair defective devices. Even official Microsoft help after support requests is almost always provided by email.
What should you do if it's too late and you've already carried out the instructions from the scammers?
Disconnect your computer from the Internet as quickly as possible, turn it off and report the problem to the police. – dpa