Sunday, May 28Welcome

FBI Warns About Tech Support Scams Targeting Seniors In Chicagoland Area

File photo | Photo: Vojtech OKENKA/Pexels

The FBI has issued a warning to residents of the Chicagoland area about an increase in scams targeting seniors by criminals posing as tech support.

The FBI said in a statement earlier this month that tech support fraud involves criminals posing as tech support and unknowingly defrauding people.

Criminals may offer help in resolving issues such as email or bank account compromise, computer viruses, and software updates.

A scam currently targeting Illinois residents involves breaking into a computer.

Fraud victims experience computer freezes followed by pop-ups on their screens informing them that their computers have been hacked.

The pop-up contains a number claiming to be from a well-known computer software company. The number actually belongs to the scammer.

When the number is called, the scammer answers the phone pretending to be an employee of a computer software company, the FBI said.

The “employee” claims that the victim’s bank account and Social Security account number have been compromised, and links the victim with other fraudsters impersonating bank representatives and Social Security Administration employees.

The victim is then instructed to download an application that allows remote computer access.

Victims are convinced to withdraw money from their own banks to avoid “hackers”.

Victims are told the money will be transferred to the Social Security Administration, where it will be converted to bitcoin “for safekeeping” and returned once a new Social Security account number has been assigned.

The FBI says it recommends avoiding installing programs that allow other users to remotely access your computer.

The FBI says computer users should disconnect their devices from the internet if the scam pop-up screen appears.

Residents should always be skeptical if a “government agency” asks them to make a transaction in Bitcoin or if someone tells them not to tell their family about the transfer.

Only independently verified numbers should be used to call businesses, banks, and government agencies.

According to the FBI, the number of senior Americans victims of tech support scams will soar to 13,900 in 2021, representing a loss of $238 million.

6,781 people died in 2019 and 9,429 people in 2020.

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