Don't fall for fraud!
Watch Out for Remote Access Scams
Normally, most people would never let a stranger use their computer, as it would be easy for them to steal your private files, money, or identity. However, fraudsters have started using remote access scams to prey on peoples’ fears and lack of technological understanding - making them more likely to commit the error of giving a fraudster access to their device.
Remote access scams are becoming increasingly popular so learning how to avoid them can help you from becoming a victim.
First and foremost, VeraBank will never ask customers to download an app to gain remote access to their electronic devices. As a reminder, never give anyone you don’t know access to your devices, and never share your online banking login details, passwords, or secure access codes with anyone.
How Remote Access Scams Work
In a remote access scam, a fraudster attempts to persuade you into giving them remote control over your electronic device, which can help them steal your private information and possibly get money out of you. Remote access scams typically follow this pattern:
- Fraudsters contact you claiming to be tech support representatives. They send phishing emails, and texts, or contact you by phone claiming to be from large, reputable tech companies. Sometimes they even pose as representatives from your bank. In other cases, you may end up on a fake website that displays pop-ups warning that your device has been hacked.
- Next, they claim that your device has been hacked or is infected with malware. This is a social engineering scare tactic designed to create a sense of urgency. The fraudster may even claim that someone is using your identity to commit cybercrime.
- They offer to fix the problem using a remote access program such as AnyDesk, LogMeIn, TeamViewer or GoToAssist, which allows someone from another computer to operate your device as if they were sitting right in front of it. Fraudsters keep you on the phone while you download the application and then ask for your secret PIN number which then gives them access to your device.
- The fraudster steals passwords stored on your device to help them break into your other accounts. In some cases, they may also use your identity to scam friends and family members. Because they can easily see who your closest contacts are, the fraudster pretends to be you while asking friends and family members to urgently wire money to them.
How to Avoid Remote Access Scams
Steering clear of remote access scams becomes simple once you realize a few key facts.
First, tech support specialists from companies and government departments never cold-call people, so if you receive a call purporting to be from some kind of computer tech support, it is almost definitely a scam. Even if your caller ID says the call is coming from a source you recognize, it’s easy for fraudsters to spoof their calls to falsify their location.
Second, legitimate computer companies don’t put their phone numbers on security warnings and advise people to call them, preferring instead to use diagnostic and repair programs as a first line of defense. If you see a pop-up or virus warning on your computer advising you to call a number, it’s a scam. Some of these pop-ups have code that makes them hard to close, so if a pop-up stays stubbornly open, you can force close your Internet browser.
Finally, and most importantly, never give remote access to anyone you don’t know, as doing so lets them bypass a great deal of your cybersecurity.
What to Do If You Think You’ve Been Scammed
Speed is of the essence, so here are some steps to follow if you suspect fraud.
- Report the scam to your account providers (i.e. bank, credit card institution, online paying systems).
- Change any passwords to accounts that may have been compromised.
- Have your device checked by an IT specialist.
- Report the scam to your local authorities.
While we hope you find this content useful, it is only intended to serve as an educational article. Products referenced above are examples and should not be construed as endorsements.