The National Trading Standards (NTS) eCrime Team has issued a warning about a scam targeting those looking for help with printer problems.The “printer helpline scam” differs from most scams as it requires consumers to contact the criminals directly using fake “helpline” numbers in online adverts in search engines results or social media.
According to the eCrime Team, the criminals behind the scam are gaining remote access to people’s computers by pretending to help them to resolve their technical problems.
Once victims have allowed access to their systems, the criminals are stealing personal information, including bank account details, and infecting computers with malware.
One particular criminal group, which claims to be affiliated with a wide range of technology brands and printer manufacturers, takes control of victims’ computers and demands payment to release them.
Figures from Action Fraud, UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime, reveal that cases such as computer service fraud, which includes scams such this, have risen by 47% since 2014.
“This printer helpline scam is particularly pernicious because it encourages victims to unknowingly contact the fraudsters of their own accord,” said Mike Andrews, lead coordinator of the NTS crime Team.
“While victims expect, they will receive help with their printer problems, they have in fact been lured into a trap and find themselves at risking of losing money, important personal information and also have their computer security compromised.”
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