Residents are being warned to be on their guard from fraudsters claiming there is a fault with their computer.
Computer users have been receiving phone calls from companies, often based abroad, saying they have been made aware of the problem by the machine’s operating system.
They offer to repair this by accessing the computer remotely, which can lead to disclosure of personal passwords and any other security protection.
Officials at Northumberland County Council Trading Standards are urging people not to fall for the scam.
Coun John Riddle, cabinet member for planning, housing and resilience, said: “Sadly these types of scams continue, but many originate from abroad and can’t be investigated further.
“We urge householders to be on their guard and warn relatives and neighbours. Residents must not disclose their bank details or allow companies who cold-call to have access to their computers.
“All residents need to be wary. Don’t be tricked into giving personal information or bank details via phone or by email, even if the request appears to come from a genuine source.”
David Sayer, the county council’s business compliance and public safety unit manager, said: “Trading Standards regularly warns local residents about scams in operation and these are becoming more elaborate. We have received a number of new complaints regarding this type of scam.
“Residents need to be very cautious when they receive calls about issues with their computer because they are likely to be fraudulent.
“Scammers will often focus on the caller by trying to scare them into parting with money.”
He added: “Once they have taken money they will often try again. Our advice is that you should not respond to these calls and seek professional computer guidance.”
The Trading Standards service advises all computer users to learn about computer security by looking at sites, such as getsafeonline.org and takefive-stopfraud.org.uk, both of which carry case studies and a range of useful information that will teach users how to better protect themselves in the future.
Anyone who has received or been victim to a hoax email or phone call can ring the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.