FBI, This Week: Tech Support Fraud Cases On the Rise


April 6, 2018

The FBI says as tech support fraud evolves, the number of people falling victim to the crime is on the rise—and so are the financial losses.


Audio Transcript

Mollie Halpern: The FBI says as tech support fraud evolves, the number of people falling victim to the crime is on the rise—and so are the financial losses.

In 2017, nearly $15 million dollars in losses were reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3—that’s an 86 percent increase over 2016.

Tech support fraud happens when criminals pretend to offer legitimate services, like fixing malware problems or renewing software licenses, in exchange for payment.

In the past, criminals would make unsolicited phone calls to potential victims, but as Supervisory Special Agent Daniel Damron says, these days, new methods are used.

Daniel Damron: The three most common we see is search engine advertising, pop up messages, and lock screens.

Halpern: IC3 received about 11,000 complaints related to tech support fraud last year.

Damron says his experience with these cases tells him that the actual number of victims is likely higher.

Damron: We’ll go out and either do a phone interview or send a lead, and in almost 75 percent of the cases, people—at the day that we went and interviewed them—did not realize that they were a victim of tech fraud.

Halpern: To learn how to protect yourself and to report this type of crime, visit www.ic3.gov.

With FBI, This Week, I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau.

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