Malware scams are particularly malicious, as they exploit the prevalence of scams to trick innocent victims into losing their information and money. Here is what you need to know about malware scams and how to avoid them.
How these scams play out
Malware scams, also known as tech support scams, begin as a seemingly innocent phone call. A scammer reaches out to an individual and informs them that their computer or another device has been hacked. The caller will claim that the alleged hacker has gained access to the victim’s computer and can now do all kinds of damage. The caller, posing as a tech support representative, can help remove any viruses or malware that may have been installed in the device. The alleged tech support rep gives clear instructions, often involving giving the caller access to their device. Unfortunately, though, if the victim follows these directions, they will actually be installing malware on their computer.
Avoid malware scams by looking out for these warning signs:
- An alleged rep of a tech support company has called you without you reaching out to them first.
- The “tech support rep” asks you to provide them with remote access to your device so they can allegedly remove any malware that has been installed.
- The caller claims that serious damage has already been done to your computer even though everything looks untouched from your observations.
- The caller urges you to act immediately or risk causing further damage to your device.
- The caller asks you to enter your credit card information or checking account details to pay them for their service. Alternatively, they will ask to be paid via prepaid gift card.
If you have been targeted
If you believe you have been targeted by a malware scam, take these steps to protect your money, and your device, from harm.
First, do not engage with the caller. Hang up as soon possible and block the number. Next, if you have started entering information into your computer as per the caller’s instructions, close your device immediately. If you believe you have already given the scammer access to your device, you may want to consult a genuine tech support expert to remove any malware that may have been installed. Also consider placing a credit freeze on your name to prevent any loans the scammer may try to take out in your name. Finally, report the scam to the FTC.
To help protect yourself from fraudulent activity, make sure to utilize your Benefits Plus® checking account with SeaComm! Once you upgrade your basic checking to Benefits Plus®, you will gain access to a full range of fraud and identity-theft protection services, including fraud alerts, lost document recovery services, 90-day Purchase Protection, and much more. Click here for more information, or stop by your local SeaComm branch to enroll.
For complete information, terms, conditions and exclusions please visit www.benefits-plus.org or call 866-329-7587.
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