FBI Warns of Technical Support Scams

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has issued an advisory on increased complaints for Technical Support Scams.  The scammer claims to be an employee of a major computer software or security company offering technical support to the victim.  Some of these scammers claim to be from cable and internet companies to assist with cable boxes, modems and routers.  The scammer claims that they are seeing viruses or security issues from the victim’s internet connection or computer.  Some scammers are even claiming to work on behalf of government agencies to resolve threats from possible foreign countries or terrorist organizations.

The initial contact by the scammer is usually by phone, but has also been seen in pop-up messages or locked screens (Blue Screen of Death) with a message to call a number or go to a URL for assistance.  After the subject makes verbal contact, they try to get the victim to provide remote access to their device.  Once they get access to your device, they will ask for a fee to remove the virus from the computer, attempt to access personal files that may have passwords, financial data, or personal data, or they may install malware on the device.

To guard against this scam:

  • Ask for a help desk ticket (or ITSM) number and a call back UTA telephone number.
  • Hang up and call the number if it is a true UTA extension (either 5 digit extension for on campus calls or 817-272-xxxx prefix).
  • Recognize the attempt and cease all communication with the subject.
  • Ignore the pressure from the scammer to act quickly.
  • Do not give an unknown/unverified person remote access to your computer or accounts.

Additionally:

  • Remember that a legitimate software company will not contact an individual unless it is initiated by the customer.
  • Be sure to install anti-virus, security and malware protection applications and make sure it is updated on a regular basis.

If you find that a scammer has gained access to your device or accounts:

  • Contact your financial intuitions to alert them and monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.
  • If the device is owned by UT Arlington, contact the Information Security Office – security@uta.edu.
  • Complaints may also be filed with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. (You may be required to be specific with details; name of company, phone numbers and email addresses used by the subject, websites used, account names and numbers, financial institutions that received any funds, and a description of the interaction with the subject).

Keep any original documentation, emails, faxes and logs of all communications with the subjects.

To view this and other FBI Public Service Announcements or Scam Alerts go to www.ic3.gov/media/default.aspx.

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