Tech Support Fraud
Tech support fraud involves someone claiming to provide technical support or customer service in an effort to defraud another individual. Instances of tech support fraud have significantly increased over the past few years. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reports that it received approximately 11,000 complaints related to tech support fraud in 2017. Claimed losses amounted to nearly $15 million, representing an 86% increase in losses over 2016.
This type of fraud is often carried out for the purpose of gaining access to an electronic device to extort payment, install malware, or to gain access to personal data, passwords, or financial information. An alleged perpetrator may pose as a technical support, security, or customer service representative offering assistance to resolve computer issues, assist with software issues or license renewal, or help resolve issues with a compromised email or bank account.
Ways Tech Support Fraud Can Occur
Initial contact in a tech support fraud scheme can occur in a few ways, and these types of schemes can be carried out in a multitude of ways.
- Telephone: Consumers are brought into the scheme through an unsolicited phone call from a technician claiming to have detected problems with the user’s computer.
- Pop-up Messages: Consumers are lured into the scheme by a sudden and persistent pop-up warning on their computer screen, claiming their computer is infected with a virus. The pop-up message gives instructions to call a number operated by the fraudulent tech support company.
- Advertising on Search Engines: People who need tech support may use Google or other search engines to find tech support. A fraudulent technical support company may pay to have their services advertised on the front page of internet search engines.
- Phishing Email: Consumers may be pulled into the tech fraud scheme via a phishing email giving warning that there has been an intrusion into their computer, or a fraudulent charge on their credit card, or an issue with their bank account. The phishing email warning will include a phone number for the recipient to call for help, which is operated by the fraudulent technical support company.
- Locked Screen on Device: The locked screen may look like an error message generated from the computer itself and will provide a phone number and instructions to contact the fraudulent technical support company for assistance.
The government highly encourages people to report instances of suspected tech support fraud to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Since anyone can lodge a complaint online, it is foreseeable that innocent people will become subjects of investigation. If you are facing an investigation into or charges for tech support fraud, you need a criminal defense attorney who knows how to defend a complex tech support and cybercrime fraud case. White collar criminal defense attorney Ashley D. Adams has the experience you need.
As a former fraud prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office, Ashley D. Adams understands the government’s tactics and knows how to establish the best possible defense for your case. Our firm is prepared to advocate for you, protect your rights, and combat aggressive prosecutors.
Contact us or call now (480) 219-1366 for a consultation.
The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handle state criminal cases throughout Arizona and federal criminal cases throughout the United States, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, and California.