FBI Las Vegas Federal Fact Friday: Tech Support Fraud
The FBI Las Vegas Field Office wants to educate the public about scams claiming to provide customer, security, or technical support or service to defraud individuals. These criminals offer to help with non-existent issues, such as a compromised email or bank account, a virus on a computer, or a software license renewal, preying on those with confusion and lack of technical knowledge. Many victims report being directed to make wire transfers to overseas accounts or purchase large amounts of prepaid cards.
According to the 2021 Internet Crime Report, 23,903 complaints related to Tech Support Fraud were received from victims in 70 countries. The losses amounted to more than $347 million, a 137 percent increase in losses from 2020. While anyone is susceptible to falling victim to these scams, approximately 60 percent report being over 60 years of age.
Suggestions for Protection
- Remember that legitimate customer, security, or tech support companies will not initiate unsolicited contact with individuals.
- Install ad-blocking software that eliminates or reduces pop-ups and malvertising (online advertising to spread malware).
- Be cautious of customer support numbers obtained via open source searching. Phone numbers listed in a “sponsored” results section are likely boosted as a result of criminals paying to have their fraudulent links or numbers appear first.
- Recognize fraudulent attempts and cease all communication with the criminal.
- Resist the pressure to act quickly. Criminals will urge the victim to act fast to protect their device. The criminals create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure the victim into immediate action.
- Do not give unknown, unverified persons remote access to device or accounts.
- Ensure all computer anti-virus, security, and malware protection is up to date. Some victims report their anti-virus software provided warnings prior to the attempt.
If you believe you are a victim of Tech Support Fraud, file a report at IC3.gov or contact your local FBI office.