The FBI says that tech support fraud – where cyber criminals pose as technical support professionals – has risen by 86 percent over 2016.
In 2017, nearly $15 million in losses were reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3.
Tech support fraud is where criminals pretend to be offering legitimate services such as resolving malware issues or renewing software licenses in exchange for payment. Where once victims were approached through unsolicited phone calls, Supervisory Special Agent Daniel Damron says new methods are used nowadays. “The three most common we see is search engine advertising, pop up messages, and lock screens,” he said.
IC3 received about 11,000 complaints of tech support fraud last year, but Damron says his experience is that the real figure is much higher.
“We’ll go out and either do a phone interview or send a lead, and in almost 75 percent of the cases, people—at the day that we went and interviewed them—did not realize that they were a victim of tech fraud,” he said.
IC3 has published tips to avoid becoming a victim of this type. Read the advice here.