Remote access scams on the rise, netting $41,000 in consumer losses in 2017, ACCC says
Nasty stuff. I have personally spoken with clients that have had this happen. The scammers generally use teamviewer or some simular remote access software to access your PC. Remember you have to install the software, and generally grant them access through a code or confirm the remote session.
Think of it like this. Would you hand the keys to your house over to someone that wanted to do some internal maintenance that you didn’t know ? I would suggest not. Key thing to remember is if you are going to give somebody remote access to your ocmputer – CONFIRM THEIR IDENTITY AND KNOW WHO THEY ARE. Otherwise they could be a scammer and mess with your stuff. This article is about what can happen if you get duped.
Keep in mind, Telstra, Microsoft and other larger organisaitons do not cold call in search of problems. If you are reacting to a cold call, chances are its a scam.
It has been almost one month since Jason fell victim to an internet pop-up scam and still he feels like the “stupidest person in the world”.
Loading Facebook on his PC early one Sunday morning, Jason (who has asked not to use his surname) was met with an alert purporting to be from Microsoft, requesting he contact them immediately as his ISP was being compromised. “I got through to ‘Microsoft’ who then transferred me to the ‘technicians’. They are extremely smooth talkers, carefully explaining that my ISP had been hacked, so my anti-virus software couldn’t pick it up,” said Jason, 44.
“They wanted to show me how it was getting into my system so they requested remote access. Stupidly, I acquiesced.”
The pop-up which Jason received on his computer.
The alleged technicians told Jason he would need to pay a standard $US499 fee to complete the necessary repairs.
“Then they proceeded to explain that this was a one-off fix, and I may be hacked anytime again, so they offered me $US1458.99 packages to future proof my system, because it covered me for three years,” Jason said.
“They confirmed the agreement remotely, using a digital signature. They had full control of my computer at this stage and were moving very quickly…and the payment went through.”
Known as remote access scams, internet pop-up windows ask victims to urgently call a 1800 number to repair a software error. If remote access is granted a scammer is able to install malicious software, steal personal data or con a victim into paying for unnecessary software. Complaints about such scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in 2017 have averaged around 300 a month, with Australians aged over 45 the most likely to encounter losses.
“These scammers are very convincing and sound like they’re the real deal when talking about tech issues,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
Jason said it was only after he had agreed to the additional $1498.99 “future proofing package” that he realised there was something “fishy”. “I was able to back out of the future proofing but was still duped into the $499 one-off fix,” he said. “They are really clever because they have such a legitimate operation and they appear very helpful. I can’t believe I got sucked into this.”