A phone scam from would-be computer hackers is being highlighted in a warning from Trading Standards.

The alert was sent to Adel and Wharfedale councillor Barry Ander-son after he raised the issue with West Yorkshire Trading Standards.

Now he is passing on the information to the public to help them avoid falling victim to the scam.

Trading Standards have received a steady stream of complaints involving suspicious calls from overseas phone numbers from an unidentified source.

The conmen call unsuspecting householders claiming to be from an online software or internet provider saying they have identified a problem with the householder’s computer connection. The scammer then tries to obtain the user’s account details.

As well as potentially losing money, those who get caught out are often added to a so-called ‘suckers list’, resulting in them being targeted in future scams.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards chief officer, Graham Hebblethwaite, said: “Although the vast majority of people will see this type of scam for exactly what it is, some may well be panicked into believing their computer has picked up a serious virus that needs urgent attention.

“Scammers work on the basis they may have to contact many people to find just one victim, but often when they do, their unscrupulous efforts pay off.”

 Councillor Neil Taggart, chairman of West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the work of Trading Standards, said: “I would urge people to share this information with friends and relatives, particularly vulnerable or older members of the community, who may not have heard about this type of scam.

“It is known that scammers will often target their victims, and in this instance, take advantage of those who may only have a limited understa-nding of new technology.”

Anyone who has fallen victim to a scam should contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, on 0300 1232040, or report it to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0845 4040506.