Wiltshire trading standards are warning people across the county to be on their guard after a spate of incidents where people were lead to believe their computers were sending out viruses.

A pensioner from Warminster is among those caught up after a man claiming to be a technician asked her for £80 to fix her computer.

The woman, who doesn’t wish to be named, called in her daughter Margaret Phillips, of Newhurst Park, Trowbridge after receiving the call from a man claiming he represented Microsoft.

The man said her computer was sending out viruses and that she would need to pay the money before they could help.

Mrs Phillips helped her elderly mother by taking a second call from the man, but he took control of the computer screen and entered credit card details supplied to him in the first call – taking the money before their eyes.

She said: “The man has since tried calling me and he knew my name and address. I told him to forget it and that I would report him to the police. He put the phone down on me. We called the bank to try and get the money back.

“They are aware of what was happening. Fingers crossed, getting the news out will stop it happening again to someone else.”

Sarah Turvey, 47, from West Street, Trowbridge, was nearly a victim of the same scam.

This time the firm, which she says traded as The Nerd Support, wanted £185, but Mrs Turvey, who runs her business from home and has four children, suspected something was wrong.

She said: “The man told me my IP address was throwing out viruses. I had problems with my computer recently which made me think about what he was telling me.

“But after seeing the website I suspected something was wrong and told him I had to go. When he called back my daughter took the call and asked for a number, but the man said the number he had previously given could only ring out.”

The Wiltshire Times tried to contact the number the company has on its website, but after several attempts our calls were disconnected.

The firm is also not registered with Companies House, the official government register for UK firms.

A spokesperson for Microsoft said: “We have been made aware of, and are currently investigating, a matter that involves one of the members of our Partner Network (“The Nerd Support”) allegedly presenting themselves as a Microsoft partner to customers, and acting in a manner that caused us to raise concerns about this member’s business practices.

“There are no circumstances under which we would ever allow partners or any other organisations to pose as Microsoft.

“We take matters such as these extremely seriously and will take immediate action if such behaviour is brought to our attention and found to be the case.”

A Wiltshire Council Trading Standards spokesman said: “People should be wary of cold calling and we advise not to part with money upfront. If people are suspicious of calls they should contact Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506.”