Detectives from the Cybercrime Squad are investigating over 150 reports of remote access scams, already costing victims in excess of $4m in under five months.
Typically, a victim will receive an unexpected call from someone purporting to be an employee of a reputable company or organisation.
The caller will claim that the victim has been charged for a purchase they didn’t make, that something is wrong with the victim’s computer or internet connection, or that malware has been installed on one of more of their devices, which the caller will suggest they can help remove.
Various reports have stated scammers have been calling and stating they’re from well-known organisations such as Amazon, Apple, the Australian Government, Australian banks (Commonwealth, NAB etc.), Norton 360 and telecommunications agencies.
The scammer will pretend to assist and will ask for remote access to the victim’s computer to ‘find out what the problem is’, ‘fix an issue’ or to login to the victim’s internet banking to check no funds have been stolen or to refund the fraudulent payment.
They will tell the victim to download remote control software such as AnyDesk, TeamViewer or Zoho Assist.
Once remote access is established on a device, scammers have almost unlimited access to personal information such as passwords or banking details or to install malware such as keyloggers.
Keyloggers record and log each key pressed and can be used to capture confidential information such as login or banking details, meaning the offender might not actually access the victim’s bank account until after the call has ended.
Since 1 July this year, 153 reports of remote access scams have been made via ReportCyber, with a total loss of $4,183,199.
Investigators are warning anyone who receives a cold call of this kind to be wary and are urging anyone with information to come forward.
If you receive a request of this nature asking for access to your computer, hang up the phone. Financial institutions, government agencies and most organisations will never contact you requesting access to your device, to share your passwords, security codes, PINs or other personal information via a pop up or a phone call.
Never share these with anyone, regardless of the claims being made. Always call organisations back on trusted numbers found on their website or phone directory to validate any of these types of requests
If you have been the victim of cybercrime, speak to police if you have concerns about a matter, or use online forums such as ReportCyber or Scamwatch which will assess the report and provide them to police.
Anyone with knowledge of these incidents and those responsible is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppers.com.au
More information is available via Scamwatch and Cyber.gov.au.
Victoria Police News – Thursday 20 October 2022