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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , remote access, ,   

    Pop-up scam continues to plague computer users 

    Pop-up scam continues to plague computer users

    By Greg Collier

    It was just a little over a week ago that we were discussing the pop-up scam that affects computer users. This is where someone is using their computer when all of a sudden their screen is overtaken by a pop-up message that states the computer they’re using has gotten a virus. Typically, these pop-ups claim to be from a large tech company, most commonly they claim to be from Microsoft. These pop-ups also contain what appears to be a customer service number that the user is supposed to call to get their computer working again.

    These phone numbers do not go to Microsoft. Instead, they go to a group of scammers who are looking to extort money from the computer user. More often than not, the user is instructed to give remote access to the phony technician. This allows the scammers to go through the personal files stored on the computer. The scammers will then come up with some reason that the computer user has to pay them money, usually through non-recoverable means like cryptocurrency.

    The reason we’re bringing up the pop-up scam so soon is that it seems to be on a meteoric rise. Just today, we found several instances of it happening across the country where victims have lost thousands of dollars. For example, a man from Lincoln, Nebraska, paid $4000 in gift cards to scammers. In the Kansas City Metro Area, two people ended up losing $30,000 total to scammers who made their victims pay through Bitcoin kiosks. In the Green Bay-area of Wisconsin, residents there lost a total of $78,000 to scammers who gained access to their victims’ bank accounts and converted the money to Bitcoin. And in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburbs, a man lost $18,000 to scammers who also had him pay at a Bitcoin ATM. Those are all the stories about this scam that we found in one day. Who knows how many others have happened without being reported?

    If anyone you don’t personally know asks for remote access to your computer, they’re almost definitely a scammer. Also, keep in mind that companies like Microsoft hardly ever reach out to consumers in that way.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , remote access, ,   

    Tips to detect the tech support scam 

    Tips to detect the tech support scam

    By Greg Collier

    Yesterday, we discussed how the jury duty is one of the most common and well-known scams, yet it still continues to find victims. Today’s scam is another scam like that, and it’s the tech support scam. This is where you’re using your computer and an invasive message pops up saying that your computer has been compromised.

    These pop up messages can even prevent you from closing any windows or shutting down your computer. The messages claim to be from some well-known tech company like Microsoft or McAfee and that you need to call them right now at the number they’ve provided. However, the customer service number provided is a fake, and instead leads you to scammers posing as one of these companies. Before you know it, you’ve lost thousands of dollars to a scammer for some phony service you didn’t need to begin with.

    A woman from Baltimore almost fell for one of these scams. She states that a message that appeared to come from Microsoft popped up on her husband’s Google Chromebook. This should have been a red flag that this was a scam, but not everyone knows the ins and outs of computer operating systems. If you’re using a Chromebook that runs Google’s Chrome OS, then why is Microsoft, who make Windows 10 and 11, letting you know about a problem on a competitor’s system? The same would go for an Apple Computer. Microsoft would not tell you about a problem on your iMac or MacBook.

    Getting back to the story, the woman called the number and was told to download an app that would let the phony technical support rep have remote access to her computer. This is another giant red flag. Letting anyone you don’t know personally have access to your computer is always a bad idea. This allows bad actors to go through all the personal files on your computer. Much of this information can be used in identity theft or selling your identity to identity thieves.

    The scammer then told her that there was fraudulent activity on the woman’s bank account and that she needed to move her money to avoid further fraud. She was then asked for the customer service number from the back of her debit card and that the phony rep was going to connect her to her bank and help her move the money. Of course, the bank rep was just another scammer. It wasn’t until the woman was asked to send a copy of her driver’s license when she said she felt uncomfortable and terminated the call. Luckily, she didn’t lose any money.

    If you think about it, even the pop-up messages that overtake your screen are a tip off to a scam. Real word hacks and viruses are designed to be undetected. It’s their purpose to remain as hidden as possible to collect as much information as possible or cause as much damage as possible before being detected.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , remote access, ,   

    Tech support scam costs victims hundreds of thousands of dollars 

    Tech support scam costs victims hundreds of thousands of dollars

    By Greg Collier

    If you’re tech-savvy, you may think to yourself, how can anyone fall for a tech support scam, especially one that involves pop-ups? In the past, pop-up windows were such a nuisance that most modern browsers come with pop-up blockers. Today, we hardly even think about pop-ups. However, if we do come across one, we largely ignore them and never go to that website ever again, as it could be providing false information or trying to inject malware into your system. Unfortunately, not everyone is that technically inclined, and those are the people that scammers are preying on. It might not be so bad if the scammers were only taking a few dollars, but these con artists are taking money from people in the six-figures.

    There’s not a lot of information on this story, but we imagine this is how it happened. A woman from Ohio saw a pop-up on her computer. It probably said that her computer had been hacked and left a phone number for her to call. The scammers posed as her bank and was told her bank account had been compromised. In order to protect the funds, she was told to give the person on the phone remote access to her computer. She was also instructed to move money from her IRA to a checking account. After it was all over, the scammers had stolen close to $300,000 from her.

    In Lincoln, Nebraska, a man fell for a similar scam. He also received a pop-up that said his bank account had been hacked and gave a number for him to call. This time, the scammer posed as a Microsoft employee. Again, the man was asked to give remote access to his computer. He was also instructed to move his money to another account, an account that scammers had access to. The man was even instructed not to discuss the matter with police. The scammers took just a little over $200,000 from him.

    Let’s just say that these two instances were committed by the same group of scammers. By just finding two people who fell for their scam, they were able to collect half a million dollars. Scammers don’t need to fool everyone, just a handful of victims.

    If you know someone who may be vulnerable to this scam, please let them know that this isn’t how their devices work. If they see a message that says they’ve been hacked, that message has definitely been sent by scammers. Also, they should never call any phone numbers attached to these pop-ups, as they’ll always connect you to a scammer. Last;y, they should never give anyone remote access to their device, unless it’s that one family member who fixes everyone’s computer.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , remote access, ,   

    Man loses life savings in antivirus scam 

    Man loses life savings in antivirus scam

    By Greg Collier

    You hate to see the phrases ‘scam’ and ‘life savings’ used in the same sentence. Unfortunately, that is a harsh reality in today’s internet-connected world. Scammers and con artists will try to take as much money from you in the quickest way possible. One of the quickest ways to do this is to gain remote access to someone’s computer. In most cases, in order to gain remote access to someone’s computer, the computer’s owner needs to give that person permission. That’s where today’s scam comes in.

    A man from the Chicago-area lost his life savings to scammers after he allowed them to gain access to his computer. The man used a certain brand of antivirus software that he pays a subscription fee for. The scammers called him up posing as the antivirus software company. They told the man that due to the pandemic they can no longer serve him and would like to give him a $500 refund. The scammers deposited thousands of dollars into the man’s bank account and then said that this was a mistake. In order to correct the mistake, they needed remote access to the man’s computer. That’s when the scammers were able to empty his bank account and his home equity line of credit to the tune of $200,000.

    No commercial software company is going to call you up offering you a refund. Even if there was some kind of billing discrepancy, the software company would more than likely reach out by email. Even then, we wouldn’t recommend clicking on any links in the email. Also, it should almost go without saying that you should never allow someone you don’t know to have remote access to any of your devices. If you do, they can access just about any online account that you’ve used on that computer. Lastly, you don’t really need to pay for antivirus software anymore. While you may have had to back in the Windows XP days, Windows 10 has a built-in security feature known as Windows Security that is just as good as any paid software.

     
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