Tech support scams last year resulted in $15 million in losses last year, an increase of 86% over 2016, according to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
The IC3 received 11,000 complaints by victims of tech support fraud last year, most of whom were in the US. But victims in 85 countries have reported incidents to the agency. These scams typically involve a criminal claiming to provide customer, security, or technical support, but instead aim to steal money from the victim.
"This type of fraud continues to be a problematic and widespread scam," the IC3 said in an alert published today. "As this type of fraud has become more commonplace, criminals have started to pose as government agents, even offering to recover supposed losses related to tech support fraud schemes or to request financial assistance with 'apprehending' criminals."
The scam comes via phone calls, search engine ads, pop-up messages, locked screen messages, and phishing emails, the agency said. "Some recent complaints involve criminals posing as technical support representatives for GPS, printer, or cable companies, or support for virtual currency exchangers."
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