Tech support scams are becoming a bit more popular as of late, though they seem to pray on a specific subset of people but due to their personal phishing nature, they can be effective at extorting money from the non-technically inclined. The FBI has issued an alert that details some new, clever techniques being used.
Tech support scams are getting increasingly complex and crafty, even cold-calling
Those crafty ways are some much more direct approaches to their social engineering methods. Some even claim to work for government agencies or ISP’s and trick you into making changes to your router as a precursor to attack. Furthermore, there’s the chance that your machine, and even your router, could surreptitiously become part of a greater botnet as a result of these scammers injecting malware as they make their way through. At times there is also a ransom phase, where once the charlatans have control of your bank account or PC, they demand a ransom, less they destroy everything on your PC.
Also, instead of injecting fake malware ads suggesting you call the number on the screen to ensure your PC (or Mac) is clean, they’re taking to cold-calling individuals as well, a brave tactic that seems to actually be paying off. Thus far the FBI is aware of a reported 3,669 cases where $2,268,982 have been scammed within Q1 of this year. Those are only the reported cases and the actual number could be higher. It’s imperative to report theses cases to the FBI, regardless of the level of embarrassment, so that those damages can eventually be returned to you.
the FBI is aware of a reported 3,669 cases where $2,268,982 have been scammed
Defense against this type of activity is fairly easy, but one has to actively be aware of who is calling and why. In fact, if you yourself haven’t placed a call to a legitimate tech support site, then it’s likely no one will be calling you regarding your PC. And do not click on any pop-up or ad that claims to have found threats or malware on your PC.
Just be mindful of your browsing habits and if you need help with something, call a real, legitimate tech-support company or contact someone you know who can legitimately help with data recovery or malware removal.