A BATTLE pensioner, who narrowly avoided losing hundreds of pounds to telephone con-men, is warning others not to fall for the same scam.
John Hill, 91, received a phone call at around 11am on Monday from someone claiming to be from Microsoft.
The caller asked John to switch on his computer and call up a number of error messages on his screen, which the caller claimed were viruses.
The caller told him that for £10 she would install some anti-virus software which would last a lifetime.
He said: “They told me they had to take my credit card or bank card details to carry out the transaction.”
John gave the caller his bank details, but as the call progressed, his suspicions grew.
Whilst he remained on the line, John’s wife tried to call the fraud department of Barclays bank on a mobile phone, but was put on hold for 20 minutes.
After almost three hours on the phone, John was finally able to terminate the call and quickly headed to the Battle branch of Barclays.
He discovered the con artists had attempted to steal £492 from his account.
John, from Glengorse, spoke to friends about the scam and discovered he was not the only person to have received such a call.
He said: “I rang a friend and he said a friend of his had a similar call.
“He’s a member of Battle Probus Club and I’m a member and the secretary had received a similar call.”
John added: “I just want to warn other people to be on the alert.
“You begin to trust no-one.”
Police believe the same person tried to con money from a Bexhill man on the same day.
The man, who is aged in his early 40s, paid the caller £69 to install anti-virus software on his computer.
The man, from Carfax Close, later cancelled the card and contacted police.
Sergeant Paul Masterston, of Battle Police, said: “Over the last few weeks a telephone scam involving Microsoft has reared it’s head again in the Battle area.
“Although most have not been taken in by these scammers they can be very convincing and we have unfortunately heard of locals passing bank details over to them and being left out of pocket.
“The scam generally goes along the lines of telling the would-be victim that they either have a virus on their computer, that their anti-virus software is out of date or they need to validate their copy of Microsoft and that they need to take a sum of money to update it or validate; the scammer either mentions or states they are from Microsoft.
“This is a well-known scam and I’d like to remind anyone who receives a call like this that Microsoft will never call you in this manner and will never ask for bank details over the phone, do not give them any personal information and please report the call to us on 101 and to ‘Action Fraud’ via 0300 123 2040.”