A WIDNES resident narrowly avoided falling victim to a scam that would have seen her lose thousands of pounds.

The woman received a scam telephone call last week, with the caller – whose first language was not English – claiming to be from Microsoft.

He told her that her emails were not working as her inbox was full of notifications due to a Chinese scam campaign, and advised her that it would cost £9 for them to fix the issue.

But he said that the resident would not have to pay anything due to her computer’s warrant, and that Microsoft would instead refund her £500.

The scammer instructed the woman to go to the Post Office and put in a £2,000 claim, but said that she would first need to send him £1,500.

He then told the resident that he had her bank details and threatened to withdraw all of the money in her account.

Though the scam victim did go to the Post Office and began to fill in forms for a claim, she then realised that it may have been fraudulent.

Her bank told her no money had been removed from the account, while her internet provider confirmed that this was a scam.

Halton Borough Council’s trading standards issued a warning to residents.

Microsoft does not send unsolicited emails or phone calls to request personal or financial information, to fix computers or to request payment for work.

Scammers posing as Microsoft employees are known to use texts, emails and phone calls as well as pop-ups and system error messages.

Halton Borough Council’s executive board member for trading standards Cllr Dave Cargill said: “Remember – if in doubt, check it out before you part with any money.

“After all, it’s much better in your account than the scammers’.

“If you or somebody you know has been caught our by a fraud, please contact one of our specialist officers who are already working with people in Halton who have lost thousands of pounds to scams.”

For help, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.