'If you want everything back then pick up my call' Woman captures moment threatening hackers wipe computer

Watch the full report by Richard Morgan

A woman from Blaenau Gwent captured the moment her brand new computer was hacked in a sophisticated hoax.

Gabi, a civil servant, watched as hackers got into her computer and remotely wiped all of her files.

It started with a phone call from someone claiming to work at Microsoft headquarters, asking her about her new laptop.

"I'd recently bought a new computer and I'd only had it about a week so it was really relevant to me at the time," Gabi said.

"He then read out my name, my address, the licence number of my computer. When I spoke to the police, they said actually only Microsoft or who you purchased the PC from would have that level of information. So it was very believable at that time."

Almost 1,400 reports of cyber crime have been made to Welsh police forces since January 2020.

Of those, more than 600 said their e-mail or social media accounts were hacked.

With more people working at home because of the pandemic, cyber-security experts are warning of the importance of having multiple passwords for different devices and accounts.

A threatening message appeared on Gabi's computer

Gabi filmed the moment her computer began to be remotely controlled and a threatening message started to appear on the screen.

The message read: "Your files are deleted now and if you touch the computer again, you will lose this computer as well. If you want everything back, then pick up my call."

Gabi called the police for help while the message appeared on screen. She then quickly disconnected her computer.

Police said the fraudsters would have demanded money to restore Gabi's files. 

Figures show more people have reported cyber crime since home-working increased last year due to the pandemic.

There have been nearly 1,400 reports of cyber crime in Wales since last January and of those, more than 600 said their e-mail or social media accounts had been hacked - allowing criminals to access personal information.

The pandemic has also seen new Covid-specific fraud. One scam circulating claims to be from the HMRC Government Gateway and says it is offering grants of up to £7,500 for businesses forced to close their doors.

Hackers can strike anyone so it is important to keep vigilant online. Credit: PA Images
  • How can I protect myself from falling victim to a cyber scam?


Cyber-security experts say one of the key things people can do is make sure they have more than one password for their separate accounts or devices.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online said: "Think of passwords like keys. Unfortunately we haven't got one key for everything we do in life and we can't have one password.

"If that one password is compromised then everything you do with that password is compromised."

Mr Neate advises that you do not need to change them constantly and if you have trouble remembering them, keep a document with cryptic clues that will remind you of each password. Do not write the actual password.

Updated software

Using up to date operating systems and security software will also help protect against malicious attacks.

Having the most recent versions of applications and anti-virus programmes will make it more difficult for scammers to get through.


Mr Neate encouraged people to educate and share information about technology with other older family and friends, who might not be as digitally literate. He pointed out that Youtube can also contain helpful video tutorials on how to stay safe online.

He did also warn that some research carried out by Get Safe Online found that younger people were more likely to fall victim than older computer-users because they think "it's not going to happen to them".

The Get Safe Online website contains helpful information on how to protect yourself.

If you think you have been the victim of fraud, the advice is to contact Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.