Computer and banking fraud is not just prevalent in emerging markets: Financial Fraud Action UK (FFAUK) is warning consumers of a new telephone scam whereby perpetrators impersonate major companies and organisations to take over computers to steal money from online bank accounts.
Criminals are apparently using technology to take control of victims’ computers from remote locations, after telephoning them and offering to assist with a slow computer or internet connection, Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) warned earlier in November.
There has apparently been a recent increase in reports of this type of scam. The magnitude of these attacks could be momentous.
Christopher Riley, CEO of The Notebook Company, says that, in order to perpetrate this fraud, the criminals are pretending to be Internet service providers, computer companies – and even banks.
“But the potential fraud goes even deeper. These fraudsters are also going around purporting to be calling due to recent high-profile data breaches. They additionally claim that there is a technical problem with the victim’s computer, or Internet service provider, which is making it run slowly.
“They say they can fix it but need to access their computer to do so.”
Unsuspecting victims are then urged to either to visit a website or enter a command prompt on their computer, which gives the scammers utter control of the machine remotely.
The fraudster will then proceed to sort out the problem, which is naturally not the case. During these proceedings the victims will be informed that they are entitled to varying degrees of compensation – often pretending to put them through to an operator, who will inform the end user that they will be sending the money – and will subsequently ask the victim to log into their bank account to see when the transfer is completed successfully.
Now the fraudsters have access to the computer and will simply launch a fake screen which makes it look like that everything is genuine, and that the money transfer has gone ahead.
While all this is going on the fraudster will be fleecing money from the victim’s bank account, says Riley.
Recently there was also a Microsoft telephone fraud scam, with perpetrators also trying to dupe companies, or individuals, into allowing remote control of their computers in order to perpetrate fraudulent activities.
Riley says that during the scam “many users” received phone calls from fraudulent companies, masquerading as Microsoft and explaining there was a problem with a PC, or PCs – and that they needed to fix the glitch.
“Alarmingly, users often got duped into believing the caller and would unsuspectingly allow the caller remote access to their system. Key logging or similar software is then installed on a user’s system,” says Riley.
“Perpetrators then have total control and simply monitored the person doing their day to day work, including banking activities.
“There were – and arguably still are – also cases of these cyber crooks actually transferring people’s money, or changing people’s banking details in e-mails so that people pay money into the perpetrator’s accounts inadvertently.”