COMPUTER users have been warned to be on their guard against a possible scam after a computer owner on Bute was persuaded to allow a cold caller access to her machine.
Ed Tily, from Rothesay IT firm Tilset Services, contacted us on Thursday hoping to alert as many people as possible to the scam.
"A company had contacted (the customer] on Wednesday afternoon to say the company she'd bought the machine from - which is ourselves - had told them the computer was corrupt, and that she had to allow them access in order to download some software to deal with the problem," Mr Tily told us.
"They managed to persuade her to allow them access and to leave the computer on for four or five hours. They were probably able to download the entire contents of her computer.
"We sold the customer the computer, and there's no way we would ask another company to do something like that.
"I've spoken to the trading standards department at the council, and they're very concerned about this - although it's the first report they've had of this kind of practice.
"A lot of people will just take a call like that at face value, especially if they're older."
The caller, who apparently had a strong Asian accent, identified himself as Daniel, claimed to be based in Oxford, and said he was phoning from a company called LogMeIn 123.
"When I spoke to (the customer] I told her to shut the computer down immediately," Mr Tily continued, "but she couldn't even switch it off in the proper way - I'm going to have to wipe the whole computer over the weekend.
"If they've got hold of her address book they'll be able to target all her friends and family, and maybe even say she recommended them.
"The caller claimed I'd phoned him and asked them to deal with the problem. I sold the computer in question and that just didn't happen."
A quick web search carried out by The Buteman revealed that the name 'logmein123.com' has been associated in recent months with a scam very similar to that described by Mr Tily.
Read more here.
Advice from Argyll and Bute Council's trading standards office is that customers should at no time give out personal details or allow access to their computer from someone they do not know and trust.