Taking Back the ID

Tech support and BEC scams explode

Erik Franklin seemed to have more problems using his electronic devices than most and bugged his friends for help when issues came up. One day when he couldn't connect to the web, he received a call from someone claiming to be an employee of an internet company. The person said his company had received a notice that Erik had a problem with his internet connection and offered to resolve the problem if Erik would provide the caller with remote control of his computer. Perfect timing for a scam! Erik agreed, and the fraudster told him his computer was plagued with numerous viruses and malware, but the fraudster said he could fix the problem for a fee. Erik paid the charge with his credit card but, of course, the caller didn't restore the internet connection. And now the fraudster had his credit card information.

Technical support scam

Erik was a victim of the longtime technical support scam that fraudsters have reinvigorated with new methods, variations and trends. According to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in most cases the fraudsters claim to work for cable or internet companies and offer to resolve technical problems with victims' routers, modems, digital cable boxes or connections to the internet. The IC3 says that fraudsters also claim "to work on behalf of government agencies to resolve computer viruses and threats from possible foreign countries or terrorist organizations." The IC3 received 3,668 complaints with adjusted losses of $2,268,982 from January 1 through April 30.


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