July 7, 2022
Fraudsters are always on the lookout for vulnerable people to take advantage of. Recently, we have been seeing an increase in a phishing email technique these scammers often use. This particular email involves someone posing as a nationally known antivirus software company representative. This is usually done through a pop-up message on the victim’s computer and their goal is to get you to think:
- You have a virus on your computer, or
- Your antivirus software needs to be upgraded.
- Fraudsters are now sending victims an email appearing to be from a nationally known antivirus software company and telling victims that they have recently upgraded their antivirus software. Sometimes they even present a forged receipt for the upgrade, typically ranging from $200 to $1,000.
- The fraudulent email gives a phone number to contact the company if you want to discuss or dispute the upgrade charge. This number connects you to the fraudster.
- When the victim calls the fraudster to dispute the charge, they convince the victim to let the fraudster have remote access to the victim’s computer to verify that no viruses are on the computer.
- Once the victim allows this to happen, the fraudster finds a bogus virus and convinces the victim to provide the victim’s online banking credentials so they can do a “test run” to make sure the virus didn’t infect the victim’s bank account.
- The “test run” will include the fraudster depositing a check in the amount of $5,000 into the victim’s account.
- Next the fraudster will verify with the victim that the account shows a pending deposit of $5,000.
- Then the victim is instructed to proceed to their financial institution the same day, withdraw $4,000 or more from their account, and mail it via UPS or FedEx to the fraudster for reimbursement of the “test run.”
- Finally, the fraudster tells the victim that their antivirus software has been upgraded free of charge and the victim can keep the remaining balance for the misunderstanding of the antivirus software update email.
Spot the Scam
As you might have guessed, the check they “deposited” into the victim’s account is a fake one and will not go through. By then, the money that was mailed to them is gone. It is a good practice to always be on the watch for fraudulent emails. When you receive emails from companies that prompt you to call them, it is best to look up the phone number on your own rather than relying on what is listed in the email. Double-checking that the email address that had sent the email appears valid is a good step as well.
If you feel that you are the victim of fraud, report it to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov as soon as possible.