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FBI Issues Warning on Escalating Tech Support Scams Targeting Financial Assets
By: Mack Jackson Jr
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a stark warning about the alarming increase and sophistication of tech support scams, now costing victims more than just a few hundred dollars. According to the FBI, scammers exploit fear and urgency to clean out victims’ bank accounts, savings, investments, and retirement funds.
Victims usually encounter a pop-up message on their computers alerting them that their device has been infected with a virus and urging them to contact tech support immediately. Once they make the call, they are informed that the situation is dire. “Scammers convince them that there is a problem with their computer. And that their financial accounts may have been compromised,” said Supervisory Special Agent Keith Custer of the FBI Baltimore Field Office.
In some instances, victims are directed to download software, unknowingly granting scammers access to their computers. From there, they are instructed to log into their financial accounts. “They’ll try to gauge, ‘Oh, how many accounts do you have? How much is in that account?’ so they have a sense of how much money they can aim for,” explained SSA Custer.
The scammers employ various tactics to get victims to transfer or withdraw their funds. Victims are sometimes told that transferring money is necessary to secure their accounts. In others, scammers falsely claim that they have overpaid the victim and require reimbursement. Alarmingly, some scammers even pose as FBI agents, claiming that the victims are involved in illegal activities and need to clear their names by running their money through an official channel.
This surge in tech support scams reveals a chilling evolution in cybercrime, targeting not just individual devices but the financial stability of victims. Experts advise the public to be cautious when receiving such pop-up messages and to double-check the credentials of anyone claiming to offer tech support. If you suspect you have been targeted, contact law enforcement immediately.
The FBI urges citizens to remain vigilant and educate themselves about these scams, emphasizing that awareness is the first defense in protecting digital and financial assets.