FBI Tech Tuesday: Technical and Customer Support Fraud
PHOENIX, AZ—The FBI Phoenix Field Office wants to educate the public about technical and customer support fraud. Tech and customer support fraud involves a criminal posing as a tech/customer support service to defraud unwitting individuals.
Criminals may offer a resolution to a compromised email or bank account, or a computer virus and then take advantage of the computer access to scam the consumer. Recent reports have shown criminals claiming to be support staff for financial institutions, utility companies, or cryptocurrency exchanges.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), 790 Arizona victims reported losses of more than $12.5 million in connection to tech support scams in 2021.
The FBI suggests these tips to help protect you:
- Legitimate customer, security, or tech support companies will not initiate unsolicited contact with individuals.
- Install ad-blocking software to reduce pop-ups. Ensure all anti-virus and anti-malware protection is up to date.
- Be cautious of customer support numbers obtained by searching. Phone numbers listed in a “sponsored” results section are likely boosted by search engine advertising.
- Don’t feel pressured to act quickly. If the fraudster is trying to rush you into a situation, try and slow the conversation down.
- Do not give unknown or unverified persons remote access to your devices or accounts.
- Run up-to-date virus scan software after speaking with a support representative to check for potentially malicious software installed by the scammer.
If you suspect your computer or accounts have been compromised, contact your financial institution, change all passwords, and take steps to protect your identity. Then inform your local law enforcement agency or FBI Phoenix at (623)466-1999. Victims are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI at ic3.gov.
For more information on tech support scams, visit: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/Y2022/PSA220316