Hi Geek Fans,
This month we’re taking a look at remote access fraud. This scam is dangerous as it can leave your devices open like a book for those who have access. Learn more about it so it never happens to you!
Remote access fraud is when scammers get access to your entire device and everything on it. From viewing photos and files to installing malware, scammers can do a lot of harm very quickly.
Here’s more about what remote access fraud is, how to spot it, and how to avoid it.
What is remote access fraud?
Fortunately, scammers can’t just randomly decide to access your laptop, computer, tablet, or mobile phone. They first have to trick you into giving them access. Usually, this will occur as a phone call, or even an email or a text. The scammer will get in touch and claim that there is an issue with your device, or perhaps they will claim they are from a trusted company (such as the IRD, or Microsoft) and say they have spotted a problem and wish to help you with it. Then they will ask you to provide them with remote access to ‘help you with the issue. To do this, they will ask you to install software that will let them access your device from anywhere in the world. Often, they will ‘prove’ that they are helping by running programs that make it look like they have located the bug, but in reality, they are installing malware in the background. They may offer to ‘fix’ the bug for you for a fee. Yet when you log in to your bank account to make the payment, they’ll take your bank account details, too.
How to spot remote access fraud
If you receive a pop-up on your device or receive a call, email, or text out of the blue, that should be your first red flag. Major organizations and brands will not typically cold call you like that.
Once they get in touch, they will say something like:
- Your device has a virus
- You are about to be disconnected from your service (this could be your internet, phone, electricity, etc)
- You are being hacked
- Your device is due for an update
- There is a major problem with your account
In any case, they will be telling you bad news and offering to help, or fix the issue.
How to avoid being a victim
One of the best things you can do to avoid being a victim is to be vigilant about the warning signs. If a company gets in touch with a scary-sounding issue and offers to fix it – hang up the phone. If you think there is any possibility it could have been real, you can always get in touch with the company on their official contact lines to ask.
You can also sign up for Geek+ Premium. This gives you all of our scam-fighting power at your fingertips. This includes scam and security updates, where we let you know about any new scams going around that you need to be aware of.
Geek+ also gets you unlimited helpline access (so you can even call us if you’re unsure about something), free health and security checks, and more.