July 2021Read article
What is a remote access scam?
A remote access scam usually occurs through a phone call or an email, where a scammer claims that they are from a reputable company that you trust such as a telecommunications company, energy retailer or even a bank. The scammer then requests you to provide ‘remote’ access to your computer for maintenance purposes by asking you to download remote desktop software.
What makes these scams effective is that through remote access, a scammer can download malware such as a keylogger on your device. A keylogger records each key that you press so it can be used to capture confidential information such as Internet Banking login details.
How to spot a remote access scam
There are several types of remote access scams and as many of us are working remotely, scammers are coming up with new tactics to hijack your computer. However, there are certain red flags that you can keep an eye out for that can help spot a remote access scam.
- Someone calling you saying that they are from a well-known business or organisation such as NBN, Telstra and Microsoft.
- The caller claims that there is something wrong with your computer or internet connection or that your computer has been compromised in some way.
- The caller may even claim that you have been overcharged for a product you have purchased or that you have been mistakenly credited money in your bank account.
- Sometimes you may be prompted to call the scammer through a pop up notice on your computer. After calling the number, they may say there is a problem with your computer that they are able to fix for a fee.
- The caller could even use technical language to convince you to follow their instructions.
- They request that you download an application to your computer that gives them remote access to your computer. The caller may be very persistent that you comply with their instructions.
Tips to protect yourself
- Always keep your computer up-to-date with the latest software updates, anti-virus software and a good firewall. Make sure all software is researched thoroughly before you make a purchase.
- Never give remote access to a stranger even if they claim to be from a reputable company. You are always able to hang up, look up the company’s number from their official website and contact them directly.
- Remember anyone can be a target for a remote access scam even if your number is a private number that is not in any public phonebook.
- Always protect your details and never provide your personal information over the phone unless you are calling a number from a trusted source such as the company’s official website.