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Remote Access Scams

Did You Give a Scammer Remote Access To Your Computer?

Remote access scams occur when scammers pose as tech support agents or use other phishing attacks to dupe you into giving them remote access to your computer.

Often, they’ll start by impersonating a legitimate support agent from a tech company or retailer — such as Microsoft or Amazon. Then, they’ll either phone call, text, or email — or create fake websites and pop-ups that fool you into thinking your computer is infected with malware and only they can help you.

Fraudulent online Cryptocurrency currency firms also use this method to help you install software or set up your ‘wallet’ on your computer.

Charles was confused when he got a bill for £99 for virus protection for his computer. He’d never signed up for the service, so he called the number in the email to reverse the charge.

But once he was on the phone, the technical support agent convinced him to give him remote access to his computer so that he could “fix” the charge. Charles watched as the agent moved his mouse, downloaded apps, and entered code on his computer.

The 'agent' then, he stole £2,000 from him.

Charles was the victim of a remote access scam. In this type of scheme, fraudsters trick victims into downloading apps that give total control of their computer to the scammers.

If you give a scammer remote access to your computer, you need to act quickly.

Here’s how to regain control of your computer, identify future remote access scams, and protect yourself from malicious hackers.

That sense of urgency and fear is what allows scammers to bypass your natural suspicions. They’ll tell you the only way to fix your computer is to allow them to install remote desktop access software which requires that they take over control of your computer.

But what happens next?

If a scammer gets into your computer remotely, they could:

  • Crawl your hard drive for sensitive data, passwords, and photos. Scammers will quickly collect anything they can use to withdraw money from bank accounts, steal your identity, or extort you for money.
  • Install invasive malware or spyware. Scammers can establish ongoing access to your computer without you even knowing it. They do this by installing add-ons or programs onto your computer that continually steal sensitive information or mask what they’re doing behind the scenes. So what you see on the screen isn’t what’s actually happening.
  • Commit identity theft. With all the personal information that they find on your computer, scammers will have everything they need to steal your identity.
  • Hold your information hostage. Hackers can download what’s called “ransomware” onto your computer. It locks all of your files unless you pay a ransom.
  • Sell your information on the Dark Web. People who commit fraud and theft on the Internet often make use of the Dark Web. This hidden illegal marketplace is a hotspot for scammers and hackers who buy and sell ready-made packages of people’s personal information to fellow Internet criminals.

What can you do?

1. Immediately disconnect your device from the internet
2. Use a different device to update your passwords
3. Use anti-virus software to check for malware on your device
4. Remove any suspicious apps, browser extensions and add-ons
5. Back up your computer
6. If required, wipe you and restore to previous settings
7. Update and secure your internet provider
8. Freeze your credit card and contact your bank to make them fully aware
9. Report the scam online and to the Police
10. Thoroughly vet and verify any technical support services

Original Message Sent By: Mark Irvine (Police Scotland, Constable, A Div - Grampian)

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