TECH SUPPORT SCAMS
During a tech support scam, fraudsters pose as customer or tech support representatives from reputable, well-known tech companies. They may call, email, or text their targets and offer to resolve such issues as a compromised email or bank account, a computer virus, or a software license renewal.
Once they convince victims that their financial accounts have been compromised and their funds need to be moved, they gain control over the victims’ computers and, ultimately, their finances. Victims are often directed to wire or transfer their funds out of brokerage or bank accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges or to transfer the contents of their accounts to another account to “safeguard” the balances.
Scammers are also asking victims to install free, remote desktop software on their computers to allow them to monitor, manipulate, and perform actions within the victims’ computers, such as opening virtual currency accounts to facilitate the liquidation of their genuine bank accounts.
Tips for Protecting Yourself From Tech Support Scams:
– Legitimate customer, security, or tech support companies will not initiate unsolicited contact with individuals.
– Ensure computer anti-virus, security, and malware protection is up to date, and settings are enabled to reduce pop-ups.
– Be cautious of customer support numbers obtained via online searching. Phone numbers listed in a “sponsored” results section are likely boosted as a search of Search Engine Advertising.
– If a pop-up or error message appears with a phone number, don’t call the number. Legitimate error and warning messages never include phone numbers.
– Resist the pressure to act quickly. Criminals will urge the victim to act fast to protect their device or account.
– Do not give unknown, unverified persons remote access to devices or accounts.
– Do not download or visit a website that an unknown person may direct you to.
– Do not trust caller ID readings as criminals often spoof names and numbers to appear legitimate. Let unknown numbers go to voice mail, and do not call unknown numbers back.
– Never trust any company-tech or otherwise-requesting personal or financial information.
If you believe you or a loved one has fallen victim to one of these scams:
– Contact USB immediately by using the number on the back of your bank card or by visiting your nearest USB branch. Take steps to protect your identity and your accounts.
– Change all passwords if the scammer had access to your device.
– Run up-to-date virus scan software to check for potentially malicious software installed by the scammers. Consider having your computer professionally cleaned.
– Keep all original documentation, emails, faxes, and communications logs.
– File a police report at your local police station.
– Expect additional attempts at contact. The scammers often share their victim database information.
– File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.