Identifying Tech Support Fraud

By Roger Murray | November 7th, 2016

We’ve all received unsolicited calls before, most offering complimentary services or attempting to sell a product.  However, a growing trend in gaining access to an otherwise secure network involves deceiving a caller into divulging pertinent information, or worse, control of their computer to install malware.

How It Works:  This alternate approach with initiating a hack by speaking on the phone revolves around our heightened sense of awareness and skepticism for opening unknown senders’ messages, especially with clickable links or attachments.  With the workaround, you receive a call from someone who seems like a trustworthy technical support representative from an easily recognizable provider, like Microsoft.  The caller may have done some preliminary research to refer to you by name, or even has some rudimentary understanding of your current device configuration to sound more believable.

After garnering your trust, the caller often attempts to gain remote access/control of your computer to repair/remove infected files or receive credit card information to charge for the removal of a virus, when in fact they are more likely to be installing malignant applications that provide unauthorized access your organization’s network.

Tips on How to Manage a Potential Fraudulent Call:  If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a tech support person, immediately hang up and call the organization directly on a phone number you know is genuine.  The longer a caller stays on the phone, the more sense of urgency and questions they will ask to apply pressure on you to provide access/control to your machine.

  • Never give control or permissions of your computer to a third party who calls you. Unsolicited support calls coming out of the blue should be a big red flag.
  • Caller ID can easily be spoofed or edited, especially with the prevalence of new VOIP systems or online phone tools that are readily available, it is common for hackers to emulate legitimate companies or a local number, even when they are calling from outside the country.
  • Caller ID can easily be spoofed or edited, especially with the prevalence of new VOIP systems or online phone tools that are readily available, it is common for hackers to emulate legitimate companies or a local number, even when they are calling from outside the country.
  • Online search engines can also be manipulated with paid advertisements appearing at the top of the results when you are searching for a true Technical Support contact number in the local area.
  • Never provide credit card of payment information over the phone for someone who claims to be calling from tech support. Even if they are claiming to be issuing a refund to your account.
  • Never provide your user credentials to log into your device to anyone over the phone. A true technical support organization would never jeopardize security by requesting this sort of information from their clients.

Learn More:  When users receive proper training and education on the tactics used by infiltrators to gain access to an organization’s network, it becomes easier to manage the security and protection of your network systems.  To learn more on how TSI not only provides network security solutions, but also end-user education, Contact Us today!

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