Fraudsters are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to gain remote access to people’s computers, phones and tablets for illicit purposes. The following information can help you to avoid falling victim to these types of scams.
What is a remote access scam?
In a remote access scam, the fraudster contacts the victim, often by phone or a pop-up ad, and claims to be an employee of a legitimate company such as a computer software or security company, a cable/internet company, or a large online retailer, like Amazon. The fraudster asks the victim to initiate remote access or download an app to his/her computer, phone, or tablet in order to help resolve a fake technical or billing issue.
With control of the victim’s device, the fraudster can access files containing financial accounts, passwords, or personal data, or install viruses or malware that could also compromise sensitive information.
Many victims of online bank account takeovers report they had recently allowed someone to log into their computer, phone, or tablet through remote access. When a fraudster takes over someone’s online bank account, it can lead to the theft of the victim’s money through various means, including wire fraud, peer-to-peer (P2P) payment fraud, and ACH fraud.
How fraudsters gain remote access to their victims’ devices:
The fraudster poses as tech support.
- You receive an email, pop-up message, or a call claiming to be from Microsoft, Apple, a phone carrier, or an internet provider stating they have detected an issue in their system.
- The “Tech” requests to log in to check on or change settings, or to run a scan, and will ask for you to provide details about your computer (or to click a link that they provide) that will allow them to remote in.
The fraudster poses as a representative from a large online retailer.
- You receive an email claiming to be from Amazon (or another large online retailer) looking to confirm a recent purchase. The email includes a phone number for an “Amazon Representative” for you to call.
- If you review your Amazon account online, you would see that the transaction in question is not in your history.
- If you call the “Amazon Representative” about the purchase in question, he/she will ask to remote in to your computer in order to review the account and issue a credit.
How to avoid remote access scams:
- Do not give anyone access to your computer, phone, or tablet — nor to your personal or financial information — unless you initiated the contact and know that contact is legitimate.
- Be aware that fraudsters can spoof phone numbers to make it appear to be a call from a legitimate company. If you are in doubt, hang up and call the business using a phone number that you know to be correct.
- Examine pop-ups and emails closely for signs that might indicate fraud, such as spelling and grammar mistakes.
- If you think there may be a problem with your computer, phone, or tablet that you aren’t able to resolve on your own, consult with someone you trust or take the device to a business that offers in-person technical support.
If you suspect that your personal or financial information has been compromised, contact Bethpage immediately at 800-628-7070.