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Our friends at the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of Private Sector, has recently provided information to private sector partners regarding criminals posing as technology support representatives to obtain personal and financial information. 

The culprits gain the trust from victims by impersonating a representative from a legitimate or an illegitimate technology company. They mislead the victims by offering computer services to resolve a range of computer security and operations issues.  When victims subscribe to the fraudulent services, the perpetrators gain access to their personal identifiable information and financial accounts.  Below are some examples of this scam including:

  • In October 2018, a victim received a phone call from a bad actor who claimed he needed remote access to repair the victim’s computer issues. This person told the victim to send funds to the criminal’s account numbers because the victim was overpaid for a refund. As a result, the victim incurred a loss of approximately $416,000.
  • In or around April 2018, a victim’s computer displayed a message after it froze instructing the victim to call a specific phone number to correct a computer “problem.” The victim called and allowed the individual on the telephone remote access into his computer. The victim thought the individual fixed the computer issue and sent a check for approximately $1,400 to the tech support company for the service.  The victim researched the company, realized it was a scam, and stopped payment on the check.
  • In December 2017, an offender posing as a representative of a computer service company that a victim used to maintain the operating system on the victim’s computer, told the victim he or she would receive a refund. The perpetrator used a computer program to connect to the victim’s machine to transfer money between the victim’s accounts, stealing approximately $118,700.

Criminals will likely increase their use of technology support scams due to the ease of misleading victims by posing as technology support representatives with the incentive of financial gain.  Cyber criminals may also expand their activities to target start-up companies and small businesses who do not have a permanent or sufficient technology support staff.

Indications of criminals conducting technology support scams include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Complaints from customers reporting they were defrauded by an individual posing as a technology support representative
  • Complaints from customers reporting pop-up messages directing the customer to call a specific phone number for IT services
  • Complaints from customers who sent wire transfers to countries such as Hong Kong and Malaysia to pay for IT services
  • Complaints from customers who paid for IT services via prepaid cards or money transfer applications
  • Complaints from customers who received an unsolicited phone number for an IT company who appeared legitimate
  • Complaints from customers who provided their bank or credit card information to receive a “refund”

If these type incidents occur, you can call law enforcement and your managed security service provider (MSSP).  If you are in need of a MSSP service, please contact Wapack Labs for cyber security service recommendations.     

Wapack Labs is located in New Boston, NH.  We are a Cyber Threat Analysis and Intelligence Service organization.  For questions, comments or assistance, please contact the lab directly at 1-844-492-7225, or feedback@wapacklabs.com    

Link to FBI LIR bulletin: lir_criminals_obtain_financial_info.pdf

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