We are all familiar with tech support scams. In this scam, unwary people are tricked by scammers into granting remote access to their computer, believing that a “tech support person” will fix a non-existent “problem” (such as a “virus infection”) or claim that fraud has been detected on their account and refund their money.
It is not uncommon for scammers to use their well-honed social engineering skills when conversing with their target victims to make it appear as though they accidentally transferred large sums of money to the target’s online bank account, telling the victim that they will lose their jobs unless the excess cash is returned.
Victims are often asked to make wire transfers, deposit gift cards, use cryptocurrencies or money transfer apps. This is because these transfers are difficult to reverse.
However, according to one New bulletin from the FBITech support scammers are increasingly instructing victims to hide real cash in newspapers and magazines and send it through shipping companies.
It is not entirely clear why the scammers use this rather old-fashioned offline method of receiving money, but it may be related to the action taken by the FTC against payment company Nexway, which has been accused of knowingly processing fraudulent credit card payments on behalf of tech support scammers.
Wouldn’t it be surprising if tech support scammers, deprived of the usual channels for receiving funds, found other ways to help hide their payments from authorities’ detection?
According to an FBI bulletin, scammers recently instructed victims to ship packages of money to retailers who could pick up parcels for shipping companies on behalf of their customers.
The FBI urges anyone who has received or been scammed by such a scam to contact the FBI. FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)which includes the following details:
- The name of the person or company that contacted you.
- The method of communication used (website, email, phone number, etc.).
- The address and name of the recipient to which the cash was sent.
My guess is that most readers of this book will state of security You are unlikely to fall for such scams. Could we really be tricked into sending money hidden in our packages to random addresses because someone claimed to represent a legitimate company?
However, in reality, you may have friends or relatives who are not very security savvy and who are prone to scams. And if they’ve “seen” with their online eyes what appears to have been mistakenly deposited into their bank account (even if in reality it was the manipulation of a browser window by a remote fraudster), believe it or not.
Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking that only senior citizens fall for tech support scams. 2021 study by Microsoft discovered Generation Z (ages 18-23) and millennials (ages 24-37) are also more likely to lose money to scammers.
For all of us who care about cybersecurity and online privacy, it is imperative that we share advice on the tactics used by online scammers and constantly monitor them to ensure we help our loved ones and those who may be more vulnerable to scammers than we are.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are those of the contributor only and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire.